After nearly a year of planning what to do with the Waterbury office complex and Vermont State hospital the state could soon be back at square one. Federal Emergency Management Agency funding is not coming through.
Finance Commissioner Jim Reardon says FEMA has changed its tune. The state was expecting to get reimbursed for the majority of the costs for the Waterbury office complex and state hospital, now they know they won't get as much as they expected.
It dominated the Vermont legislative session.
"We knew we were faced with rebuilding Vermont as we entered the beginning of this session," said Rep. Shap Smith, D-Vt. House Speaker, on March 20.
After battling for months over the number of beds to put in the Vermont State Hospital, the state now faces a new problem: How to pay for them.
"The federal government is not the state of Vermont. Getting answers out of them is slower and more complicated than it is dealing with anyone in Vermont," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Since September, Shumlin expected FEMA would be footing the bill. Friday morning lawmakers were told plans for the Waterbury office complex and the Vermont State Hospital might have to be re-evaluated. The estimated cost of construction for the Vermont State Hospital and the new state office complex is $183 million. The state of Vermont set aside $63 million during this legislative session and past year. That leaves a $120 million gap. A gap FEMA promised to pay 90 percent of.
"We are pushing FEMA as hard as we can to get the maximum amount that I feel we were promised for the state hospital and also for the reconstruction of the Waterbury complex, and they have not given us a definitive answer on what we are going to get," Shumlin said.
Shumlin says the state won't rebuild without federal dollars. Officials were not clear about what made FEMA change its commitment.
As for state workers who were promised they'd be back in Waterbury by 2015-- Reardon says nothing is off the table. So it could mean the groundbreaking date will be pushed back along with the end date or it could mean scrapping the plans the state has spent a year on and looking for a more financially feasible option.
Monday, December 9 2013 11:25 PM EST2013-12-10 04:25:30 GMT
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at this apartment complex at 25 SpruceMore >>
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 11:12 PM EST2013-12-10 04:12:04 GMT
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. About 30 firefighters responded to a blaze at the Champlain Valley Equipment facility on Exchange Street. The Middlebury fire chief says there'sMore >>
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:29 PM EST2013-12-10 03:29:07 GMT
Police say a woman walked out of the WalMart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.The suspect was caught on surveillance cameras. The HP Pavilion computers are worth more than $1,000. If youMore >>
Police say a woman walked out of the Wal Mart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:26 PM EST2013-12-10 03:26:26 GMT
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.The city will use $17,000 for community outreach and research to make a plan for the homes. They were purchasedMore >>
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:51 PM EST2013-12-10 01:51:48 GMT
When it comes to education, teachers say they know what it takes to motivate students, and also what doesn't work -- including standardized testing, cookie cutter curriculums and what NEA President MarthaMore >>
The Vermont NEA unveiled its "Agenda for Student Success" proposal Monday, and it points to a new computer education program at one high school as the type of learning kids need.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-10 01:43:09 GMT
"We are trying to create a few new affordable housing units so that people have a chance to move beyond shelter and regain their independence," said Rita Markley, Executive Director of the Committee onMore >>
COTS reaching out to Old North End neighbors in the development of new affordable housing and a daystation.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:32 PM EST2013-12-10 01:32:17 GMT
"It's nothing you ever expect to ever happen to you," said Linda Zeno.Zeno and her husband, Steve, have lived in their South Burlington home for three decades and always felt safe. Until an early morningMore >>
A South Burlington couple came face to face with an intruder lurking in their bedroom, and now they're demanding stiffer sentences for repeat offenders.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:24 PM EST2013-12-10 01:24:58 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
A Vermont man admits being behind the wheel during a fatal accident in Killington but denies wrong-doing.More >>