MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - President Barack Obama has declared Mercer County one of 13 New Jersey counties eligible for federal disaster aid to supplement recovery efforts from a blizzard late last year.

The announcement means federal funding is available to County and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by blizzard that struck the area Dec. 26 and 27, 2010.

Mercer County’s Office of Emergency Management will now coordinate meetings between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and municipalities and other agencies who may be eligible for aid. Individual residents are not eligible for aid.

“We always aggressively pursue eligibility for federal assistance after any major storm,” said County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “I’m grateful that President Obama recognized Mercer County was among the counties which was hit hard by blizzard.”

In the weeks following the storm, the County administration and the County Office of Emergency Management worked closely with all 13 municipalities to assess and compile storm damage countywide and submitted those findings to the state.

The County has already been working with municipal representatives to compile damage assessments, and will assist them in filing with FEMA to be reimbursed, Hughes said. Public Assistance, if awarded, can be used to recover up to 75 percent of expenses associated with debris removal, damage to infrastructure, and other government costs.

Applicant briefing meetings hosted by Mercer County are currently being scheduled; visits by FEMA representatives to meet with County and local officials have not yet been scheduled.

Mercer County and most of its municipalities suffered at least some damage during the blizzard, which was unusual in both duration and volume of snow. Storm damage in Mercer is estimated to be approximately $2 million.