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Essex County Highway Dept. seeks loan while waiting for Irene funds

The Essex County Board of Supervisors

The Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Essex County Highway Department will be taking a loan from its parent.

Commissioner Tony LaVigne sought and was approved a resolution for a $1 million loan from the general fund of the county to continue repair work in the wake of flooding that took place in the spring of 2011 as well as Tropical Storm Irene in August.

“They will be returned when reimbursement is received from FEMA and OEM,” LaVigne said. “We have received $365,700.91 received so far but have submitted for over $1 million that has not been reimbursed. This loan is basically for operating funds to pay for our flood repairs costs.”

LaVigne said that the county has received notification that they are eligible for FEMA and OEM funding for all of its projects except one, the Keene footbridge.

“That is the only project that has come back with a zero reimbursement on it,” he said.

County Manager Daniel Palmer said he was confident the loan would be repaid because he was confident the federal money was coming.

“They have not given us any indication that they are not going to give us the money,” Palmer said. “There are processes that are ongoing. All this will be is a loan to keep the projects going. This is an accounting thing.”

“Except for that one project, more than likely we are going to get the full 100 percent back because the governor is giving the final 12.5 percent,” Board Chairman Randy Douglas said.

LaVigne said that, while the funding is slow in coming to the county, they are not waiting to do a lot of work.

“We have completed a lot of work but have not been reimbursed for it yet,” he said. “Most of our projects are large projects so they will reimburse us for the actual costs.”

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