AUBURN — Emergency Management Agency Director Joanne Potvin updated Androscoggin County commissioners on the start of the hazard mitigation plan Wednesday.

Work on the plan takes place every five years, when municipalities identify risks of natural disasters, such as floods, severe storms and droughts.

The plan also reviews potential damages. Potvin gave examples of bridge or road washouts, culverts that may need replacement or reimbursing towns for money spent to clean up after a natural disaster. 

The purpose is to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to property and people in those communities.

As the EMA director, Potvin serves as the county’s point person for disaster relief and applying for federal funds, mostly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

“Our job is to be there in case someone needs something,” Potvin said.


If a project is approved following a cost-benefit analysis, the federal government will pay 75 percent of the costs, while the municipality picks up the remaining 25 percent.

Several county towns received funding for their projects within the past five years, including Turner, Livermore and Mechanic Falls, Potvin said.

“The five towns I represent, they all know that if they have any problems, to call Joanne,” Chairwoman Sally Christner of Turner said.

Christner represents Turner, Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls and Minot.

In developing an updated five-year plan, Potvin helps each municipality review the concerns it highlighted five years ago to see which have been corrected, mitigated or still require attention. That review will eliminate some projects, allowing others to get added to the list.

Most federal disaster recommendations in Maine occur following severe winter storms or the occasional hurricane or tropical storm. The last federal disaster declared in Androscoggin County occurred following a major snowstorm and flooding in late January 2015.

Commissioners also held three executive sessions dealing with personnel issues, labor contracts and contemplated litigation.

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