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January 14. 2013 9:19PM

Executive Council expected to accept $5 million in Hurricane Sandy aid

CONCORD - The Executive Council on Wednesday is expected to accept $5 million in federal matching disaster assistance funds for local expenses associated with Hurricane Sandy.

According to a letter from Commissioner of Safety John Barthelmes to former Gov. John Lynch dated last Nov. 21, President Barack Obama declared the state a disaster area on Oct. 30, and designated all 10 counties eligible to receive public assistance.

In order to receive the $5 million, the state must appropriate $1.6 million in matching funds, according to the state application.

But Jim Van Dongen, spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the state's share will actually be footed by local communities applying for the aid.

"The state itself will not put any money into it," he said. "So there will not be any special appropriation."

Van Dongen said $5 million is an estimate of the amount required from the federal government after all bills have been submitted by local municipalities and processed through the state agency.

He said the money will mostly be used to reimburse communities for police overtime expenses "and any other expenses over normal budget that would be used for responding to the disaster, including debris removal.

"The hurricane didn't do a lot of physical damage, so this will be mostly used for overtime for disaster response costs," Van Dongen said.

He said the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is the only utility in the state eligible for the funds.


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