State applies for disaster relief funding; 6 affected municipalities wait

The six Centre County municipalities seeking federal disaster relief funding after the late June storms that damaged several roads are now playing the waiting game.

The state reached the $17.3 million threshold required to ask for a presidential disaster declaration, and municipalities are awaiting word from the federal government. County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Jody Lair said several other states applied for the same funding, but Pennsylvania is now about second in line.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency told Lair the decision still could be several days off.

“They said it could be another week before we hear anything,” Lair said.

The six municipalities — Bellefonte, State College and Howard boroughs and Liberty, Gregg and Howard townships — incurred a total of about $1.8 million in damages, mostly to roads after the June 27 storm.

Bellefonte alone had about $300,000 in damages to West Lamb Street, Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said. Rushing water caused the storm drainage to collapse beneath the road in sections, and a new storm drain must be installed.

The street remains open but is wavy and rippled in portions, and needs to be substantially rebuilt, Stewart said.

If the president does declare the disaster declaration, there will be additional meetings and steps for the municipalities to take.

Lair said she is not certain what will happen from here, as there has been no official word from anyone or hint which way they will lean.

“I don’t have a feeling either way at this point,” she said.

She added that the county will send word to the municipalities as soon as it has it.