New Castle News

Closer Look

August 1, 2013

Municipalities seek storm aid

NEW CASTLE — Damage from a July 10 storm that swept through New Castle and surrounding areas exceeded $1 million.

A preliminary assessment of public facilities, which include streets and roads in New Castle and Shenango Township, totals $1.6 million, according to Lawrence County public safety director Brian Melcer.

Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Association last week toured areas in the city, Shenango Township and South New Castle Borough that suffered damage.

Melcer said FEMA did a preliminary assessment based on its inspection.

He said he has yet to receive estimates for South New Castle.

Gov. Tom Corbett has asked the federal government for funds to help state and local governments recover from storms that occurred from late June through July 10. Lawrence County is included in the governor’s list of counties eligible for aid.

Melcer said if the president makes a disaster declaration, FEMA will make a final determination on the dollar amount.

New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, who accompanied FEMA representatives, said, “We went to each site — South Side, Lower East Side and Croton.”

The city identified streets and inlets that were damaged, plus a sink hole that developed on Dewey Avenue the night of the storm. The city also is seeking reimbursement for payment of personnel who were called out to respond to emergencies and for cleanup.

Also on the tour were Mike Rooney, city public works director; Lt. Mike Patrone and Mark Panella, acting chief, both from the fire department; and Ron Rizzo of RAR Engineering.

Mastrangelo said the city has submitted the information to FEMA. Federal assistance for public facilities would provide 75 percent of the cost, Melcer said.

In addition, the SBA can provide low interest loans if 25 or more homes can be identified as suffering 40 percent or more uninsured loss. He said 21 homes were identified initially and “we’re submitting a list of 10 more.”

Most of them are in Shenango Township, he said, and some are in the city.

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