MALONE - Franklin County has been named as an additional county to get federal aid for damage caused during Tropical Storm Irene.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that Franklin, Hamilton and Herkimer counties were added to the list of 28 counties that are eligible for public assistance funds to fix public infrastructure. Herkimer County was also added to the list of 27 counties eligible for individual assistance, which helps private individuals rebuild after the storm. Irene flooded the Mohawk River in Herkimer County, doing serious damage.
Franklin County only experienced a minimal amount of damage in the storm, with neighboring Essex County seeing the bulk of the destruction in the Adirondacks. But Plank Road and a bridge on county Route 48, both in the town of Franklin, were damaged and need to be repaired.
County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said he wasn't sure what FEMA officials were estimating the damage at, but he said the county's estimate is about $500,000 to $600,000 to replace the bridge and a couple hundred thousand dollars to fix Plank Road.
Provost said the county will have to go through the same process it did for flooding this spring to get the money: There will be a kick-off meeting, more site visits from FEMA officials, work orders written up and then agreed on before the work can be done. The county is only about 75 percent finished with the process from the spring flooding that happened at the end of April and beginning of May.
Provost said the county's side of the processing should go quickly, since there was limited damage, but since Irene affected so many areas, FEMA might be slower to process the funds.
County Highway Superintendent Jon Hutchins told county legislators earlier this month it's important to start working on the road and the bridge soon, since before long snow will cover them both.
Provost said the county also sent some fire crews to Clinton, Essex, Broome and Schoharie counties to help out after Irene. He said Franklin County is eligible for reimbursement for the money it cost to do that, but it doesn't come through the public assistance funds.