The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
State will get ‘derecho’ disaster help
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
RICHMOND—President Barack Obama has granted Virginia’s request for federal disaster aid to help pay for the costs of responding to the “derecho” storm last month.
Obama declared a major disaster Friday in 62 Virginia localities, including the city of Fredericksburg and Orange, Culpeper, Fauquier and Louisa counties. The declaration makes federal funding available on a cost-sharing basis to state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations.
The thunderstorms and strong winds swept through the region during the night of June 29, killing 15 people and leaving 1.3 million utility customers without power. Gov. Bob McDonnell said responding to the storms cost the state and local governments an estimated $27.5 million. That doesn’t include damage to private property.
Fredericksburg estimated $230,000 to $245,000 in damage, according to Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones. He said that includes direct cleanup costs as well as overtime, hiring private contractors, and damage to buildings and infrastructure.
The preliminary estimates were $537,000 from Culpeper County and $72,000 from Orange.
Stafford County, which was hit hard by the storm, was not among those on the list submitted by Gov. Bob McDonnell for disaster relief, but officials said it could be added later.
Stafford spokeswoman Cathy Vollbrecht said Friday that the county incurred at least $425,000 in storm-related expenses, a figure that includes Virginia Department of Transportation and utilities expenses. She expects that figure to rise as outstanding overtime costs come in.
Federal disaster assistance can help cover the costs of opening shelters, sending out emergency crews, and repairs to public infrastructure like roads and water systems. It’s not the same as the federal individual assistance program, which can help people with personal property losses.