Montgomery Village gets 2nd no go on FEMA snow removal funds
10 homeowners associations plan to appeal fed's cold shoulder
Ten Montgomery Village homeowners associations are appealing, for the second time, a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency not to reimburse them for clearing snow during winter storms in 2009 and 2010.
Each association is applying separately to recover its snow removal costs, so a total reimbursement amount for the Village is not available.
By way of example, Stedwick, one of the two largest associations in Montgomery Village, budgeted $29,000 for snow removal in 2010 and spent $88,000 during the February storms alone. The housing association also spent $48,000 clearing trees that were destroyed or damaged in the storm.
FEMA set aside more than $15 million to help Maryland communities with costs associated with the Dec. 18-20 and Feb. 5-11 snow storms.
Both the December and February sets of storms resulted in federal disaster declarations.
The Montgomery Village reimbursement was first denied in June. An appeal was denied in late September.
Sharon Levine, the Village's director of governmental relations, said the denial seems to be a simple misunderstanding.
In a similar denial letter sent to each association, FEMA said the Montgomery Village homes corporations were not eligible because the federal government only provides clearing reimbursement entities defined as utilities or emergency facilities.
Only private nonprofit agencies that provide essential governmental services and are open to the general public are eligible for reimbursement, according to the letter.
Levine said the roads Montgomery Village associations cleared match that definition.
"All of these amenities are fully open to the public at all times," Levine said. "If the homeowners associations weren't doing this, the county would have to."
In late September, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Baltimore announced FEMA disbursed $2,666,198.06 in public assistance funds to help Montgomery County recoup some of the costs associated with snow removal during the winter storm of Dec. 18-20. None of those funds were funneled to Montgomery Village.