GREENWOOD — Officials from Oxford County were told Tuesday that a Federal Emergency Management Agency inspector will be here this week to begin assessing damage from rain storms in June and July.

About 15 county officials, mostly from the northern part of the county, met at the Greenwood Town Hall with Ron Looman, state public assistance officer, and Gaylan Costigan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency project specialist, to begin verifying the storm damage.

Two weeks ago, Gov. John Baldacci announced that President Barak Obama had signed a disaster declaration for eight Maine counties, including Oxford. The declaration covers damage from heavy rains, damaging winds and flooding, erosion and landslides that hit Maine between June 18 and July 8.

“The whole process starts now,” said Looman of the declaration that provides 75 percent federal reimbursement to repair damaged public infrastructure.

Initial estimates show the damage in the eight counties was more than $2.5 million, including $960,416 in Oxford County. Officials said the largest single damage in Oxford County was in Rumford where a bridge on the South Rumford Road washed out in late June. Initial estimates put the loss at about half a million dollars.

The meeting allowed officials the opportunity to fill in their Request for Public Assistance application, which must be submitted in order for FEMA inspectors to assess the damage.

“The time clock starts ticking today,” Looman said.

Officials were told that they should be looking at any damage-related costs, such as the use of police to direct traffic around a hazard or even the time it takes to fill out the application. No costs will be reimbursed that were not directly related to the storms during the specific time frame.

“I’m going to look at every road that was damaged,” Gaylan Costigan said. He said he hopes to begin the process in the next few days as long as the request applications have been submitted.

Costigan said that when he views the damage he will be able give an exact money figure. “I come out and tell you exactly what it is,” he said. He told officials that they have 60 days to look for all the damage.

“The actual dollars is from this point on,” said Looman, who noted that previous damage figures were just estimates to get the state declared a disaster.

The FEMA public assistance program provides federal grant assistance for the repair replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly-owned and certain private nonprofit facilities.

According to information from FEMA, eligible applicants include state, county, city, village, town or other public subdivisions of the state and private nonprofit organizations or institutions which own and operate certain educational, utility medical or custodial care facilities. Also included are nonprofit organizations providing essential government services.

The work that will be reimbursed is classified as emergency work or permanent work and includes infrastructure such as public roads, sewer treatment plants and public parks and recreational facilities.

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