New Castle News

November 15, 2013

City applying for disaster aid

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle will apply for federal disaster aid to repair streets damaged in a July 10 storm.

At its meeting Wednesday night, city council named Matthew Staniszewski, community and economic development director, as the city’s agent to apply for the funds.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency initially denied an application by the state for financial aid to counties in Pennsylvania that had suffered damage from storms in June and July. The state appealed and FEMA declared 10 counties, including Lawrence, eligible for aid.

City officials had a briefing with representatives of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and FEMA two weeks ago.

Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo said FEMA explained the process at that time.

Staniszewski said representatives of both agencies will visit the sites to assess the damage. The city’s engineer has estimated damages upwards of $1 million, he said.

“But the city may not receive that amount,” Staniszewski noted.

The engineer’s initial assessment listed 16 streets on the South, East and Lower East sides that had been damaged, according to a report given to council by Staniszewski.

Some of the federal aid may cover repairs to storm sewers as well, he said.

Mastrangelo added some of the curbs in the affected areas would have to be repaired to comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Staniszewski said he hopes the city would know how much it will receive in the next few months.

In September, the city awarded a contract of $77,288 for the paving of five streets — four on the South Side and one on the Lower East Side — that were damaged in the storm. According to Staniszewski, FEMA said this cost would be eligible for reimbursement.

He said he also plans to apply to FEMA for a hazard mitigation grant to make infrastructure improvements to prevent future problems.