Obama grants emergency declaration for Connecticut, Greenwich to get help in paying snow bills

Greenwich is still cleaning up from the storm and despite the town missing out on the really heavy snowfall, the price tag is expected to be significant. But now help is on the way from the federal government.

On Sunday morning it was announced that President Barack Obama had granted the request from Gov. Dannel Malloy to declare a state of emergency for Connecticut as it cleans up from the record snowfall throughout the state. While Greenwich received 15.5 inches of snowfall, that is comparatively light with other regions receiving more than 30 inches. Power outages have also impacted the Southeast region of the state with Greenwich, for once, being spared the damage.

According to the governor’s office, the emergency declaration means that there can now be direct federal assistance, including possible snow removal equipment and personnel, power generation, and other commodities. While Greenwich does not appear to need extra help for snow removal as of yet, there is also help coming for picking up the tab of the cleanup. Mr. Malloy’s office said in a press release that the declaration also provides federal disaster funding for 75% of the cost of emergency protective measures incurred by municipalities, state agencies, and eligible non profits for a 48 hour period that began on Friday. It’s unclear right now just how much Greenwich has had to spend and what of that will be covered by the federal government.

“This declaration will provide much needed assistance to the state and our towns and cities as we continue to recover from this historic winter storm,” Mr. Malloy said.  “While the ban on travel has been lifted, we are continuing to urge residents to stay off the roads, if at all possible.  This is particularly true for tractor trailers.  Every time someone gets stuck, it is preventing plows from doing their jobs.”

There is no word yet on the ability of Greenwich’s public schools to open on Monday as scheduled. Greenwich commuters may find themselves having a far easier time getting to and from New York City though compared to people elsewhere in the state. Metro North is back to a full schedule for trains running to and from Stamford to Grand Central Station and that is expected to continue on Monday. However, service beyond Stamford is still suspended due to the heavy snow in New Haven.

Mr. Malloy offered several messages to state residents on Sunday, urging them, particularly state employees, to make plans to carpool to work on Monday due to road conditions and limited parking. People should also clean the snow off the roofs of buildings, especially if they are flat tops and make sure drainage areas are clear.

“With precipitation predicted for Monday, this is an especially important issue to address today,” Mr. Malloy said, citing a forecast that could potentially bring freezing rain.

He told people not to call 2-1-1 to find out about plowing, but only to find out about warming centers.

“Residents should please remember that our state and city public works personnel are working very hard to get our roads clear,” Mr. Malloy said. “This was a historic storm, and the recovery effort is going to take some time.”

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