February 21, 2019
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No FEMA disaster relief funds for Brownville, Patten, Milo

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Emergency Management Agency officials determined Friday that Maine will not reach the threshold needed in order to qualify for federal disaster assistance for Piscataquis and Penobscot county communities slammed by severe rainstorms in late June.

Given that, state officials will not be requesting assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, MEMA Director Rob McAleer announced Friday.

Brownville, Patten and Milo were among the towns hardest hit by the storms, which washed out roads and railroad tracks, shut down businesses and otherwise wreaked havoc on the region.

Initial cost estimates pegged damage from the storms at about $1.2 million, she said. Though that fell short of the $1.8 million minimum normally needed to qualify for FEMA assistance, state officials believed Maine might qualify for aid under a provision that allows for a lower threshold to be considered in the case of significant localized impact.

“After FEMA visited the affected towns and conferred with [the Maine Department of Transportation], it was found that some of the previously estimated damage figures could not be included and our statewide estimate dropped to below $700,000,” McAleer said.

“This takes us below the point that we could qualify for assistance — even under this specific exception in the rules,” he said.

Gov. Paul LePage requested the FEMA survey last week, after also

requesting an extension of the time period to make a disaster request,

in order to ensure that all avenues of possible assistance were being


McAleer said his staff is continuing to work with the Department of Economic and Community Development to assess the economic impact on businesses in the areas affected by the storms and to explore other potential sources for assistance.

He also praised local officials and the DOT for their swift response to the severe damage, repairing and reopening roads quickly after 8 inches of rain fell in just over three hours, causing extensive washouts.

State transportation officials estimate that they performed close to $300,000 of repairs in Piscataquis County from this one storm.

One death was attributed to the storm.

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