Massachusetts announces $10M for municipal flood relief
The Healey Administration has awarded $10 million in disaster relief funds to communities impacted by flooding last summer. And a large chunk of that landed in western Massachusetts.
In Deerfield, some roads without homes remain closed because of the flooding, and others are getting by with temporary fixes, for now. That has cost the town nearly $2.5 million.
Select Board Chair Carolyn Ness said a $1.6 million grant from the state will prevent dire budget cuts.
"Most of our budget, 69%, goes to schools, so there is no way we could have covered this without shutting down, you know, town operations and really impacting our schools," she said.
Ness said Deerfield is looking into making permanent repairs to roads in flood prone areas to make them more resilient to the increasing number of weather events, and is hoping for grants and more money from the state to help with that.
Neighboring Conway received $1.2 million to repair damaged roads, many of which are made from dirt.
Select Board Chair Philip Kantor said the state money will significantly reduce the burden on taxpayers in this rural community.
"We did have to have a special town meeting where the town meeting authorized us to borrow up to $1.5 million to fix all our roads up and it's unlikely, we're going to need to borrow that entire amount," he said.
In Berkshire County, North Adams received $1.2 million, Clarksburg was awarded $575,000 and Adams $525,000. The town administrator there, Jay Green, said some of the funds will be used for repairs to the wastewater treatment plant, which was inundated with excess water because of the flooding.
“Lieutenant Governor Driscoll and I have spent the past year visiting municipalities that suffered catastrophic damage due to severe weather. We knew they needed more support to rebuild, which is why we worked with the Legislature to secure these disaster relief funds,” said Gov. Maura Healey in a statement announcing the rewards.
The money for flood relief is coming from a supplemental budget the legislature approved in December, and signed into law by Healey.
Another $5 million will be released in the spring to cities and towns impacted by floods in September.