April 08, 2020

Disaster Area> Hancock County; Communities put dollar figures on damage

In applying for damage reimbursement from the federal government, Hancock County municipalities were reporting total damage of about $660,000 as of Tuesday.

Most towns in the county have provided preliminary figures to the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency, reflecting damage for the week ending Jan. 10. Should President Clinton designate Maine a disaster area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will send inspectors to individual towns in each affected county to verify the damage, said Teresa Giles, administrative secretary for HCEMA.

As the second-largest municipality in Hancock County, the town of Bucksport, population 4,825, so far has reported damage of $77,336. Only the city of Ellsworth, population 6,000, is claiming a higher figure, $92,271.

According to Bucksport Town Manager Roger Raymond, one reason for the muncipality’s high total is that much of the town lost power Jan. 6, one to two days before many other area communities. In his own case, the power at his residence was out from that date through Tuesday.

“We didn’t have a single home with power at 7 a.m. on Friday,” said Raymond.

The highest portion of Bucksport’s expenditure has been $30,102 for salt and sand. Between Jan. 6 and 11, the town used half the amount of sand it normally uses in a year.

For the week ending Jan. 10, Blue Hill, population 1,941, had filed for $77,100. That figure was expected to rise substantially by today, as the town continues to assess losses to business and agriculture, said Selectman Jim Schatz.

The bulk of Blue Hill’s damage claim, $55,100, is for staff hours for Fire Department crews, many of whom took a portable generator door-to-door, said Schatz.

Schatz estimated that as of Tuesday morning, 30 percent of the town’s residents were still without power.

Unlike most communities, Blue Hill actually held a previously scheduled night meeting last week — a special town meeting on measures including a land purchase for sludge disposal. More than 25 people attended despite the conditions.

“It was kind of like a candlelight service. It was maybe not illuminating, but it was illuminated,” quipped Schatz.

The town seeking the next-highest amount is Penobscot, where 99 percent of the community’s 1,130 residents were without power for nearly five days, said Selectman Bing Gross.

About 25 percent of residents still had no power Tuesday.

Penobscot is seeking $20,500 to cover public safety costs including overtime for firefighters helping residents with generators and water, and $17,700 for costs related to roads.

Towns reporting the smallest damage claims included Great Pond, $500; Brooklin, $3,000; and Gouldsboro, $4,566.

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