County waits for governor’s declaration

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Flooding > Repairs on hold pending FEMA approval

By Arin McKenna

Los Alamos is one of 14 counties, four cities and four tribal entities that have declared a state of disaster and are waiting for news of whether they will receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds.
The process is now in the hands of Gov. Susana Martinez, who has not yet sent her executive order declaring a state of disaster to President Barack Obama. Presidential confirmation is necessary to release FEMA funds. The state is still waiting for news from Obama’s office regarding a declared state of disaster for several New Mexico counties in July.
Philmont Taylor, acting police chief and commander of the Emergency Services Division, cannot project when the processes might move forward, but he and other county officials are fairly certain FEMA funds to repair damaged infrastructure will be forthcoming.
“The principals set forth in the Stanford Act have not changed over the last 15 years,” said Taylor, who has been through several disaster events in New Mexico and elsewhere.
The Department of Public Utilities and Public Works have both submitted Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) reports to FEMA. The county’s initial estimate was approximately $5 million, but has risen as access to flood damaged areas provided more details.

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