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Monday, January 27, 2014

Fire Chief Asks Why State Reneged on Homeowners

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s shoreline homeowners who had expected a financial lift from state and federal agencies to raise their homes above floodwaters appear to be left on shaky ground.

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A house in Westport’s Old Mill area is one of many that have been raised since Storm Sandy. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The $55 million in FEMA money to be administered by the state will go only toward municipal projects, the state informed emergency managers Friday, not homeowners whose residences were destroyed by Storm Sandy, as residents had been led to believe.

“We’re very disappointed, and this is not what we expected,” said Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, who is also the town’s emergency management director.

“Homeowners were excluded,” noting that locally funds would go to the repair of the Saugatuck Island bridge.

Arguing that state officials “certainly did” lead homeowners to expect 70 percent reimbursement for the cost of lifting their homes, Kingsbury today fired off a letter to William Shea, deputy director of the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

“I’ve written a letter of objection, and I’m asking for a review of the process,” said Kingsbury. (See letter here)

“We’re trying to figure out why, and what happened at the state level.”

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Posted 01/27/14 at 06:29 PM  Permalink



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