Essex and Middlesex Counties included in disaster relief

The Federal Government yesterday announced that both Essex and Middlesex County would be included in the federal declaration of disasater for the recent ice storm, despite both counties failing to meet county wide financial threshholds. The initial failure to meet those thresholds had left some communities holding an expensive bailout bill that would have been a severe financial burden. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was on top of this issue from the start, working with localities and the Governor to prepare a request for inclusion to President Bush. The Governor sent a request letter promptly, and President Bush has approved the expanded disaster declaration. Methuen’s preliminary estimate of cost (filed with FEMA) to the city from the ice storm exceeded three hundred thousand dollars. That cost is now eligible for 75 percent reimbursement from the federal government.

I offer thanks and praise to Congresswoman Tsongas, who was talking to us about options before we even had a chance to complain about our non inclusion in the original declaration. Without her effort and advocacy this would not have happened. My thanks to Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Governor Tim Murray, who were strong advocates for us in getting the additional relief. Thanks to Senators Kerry and Kennedy, who were supportive of all of the Massachusetts communities that needed this additional help.

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