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Vermont government buildings sustain estimated $100M in flooding damage

The golden dome of the Vermont capitol rises over a flooded street
Mike Dougherty
Vermont Public
The golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse rises over a flooded street in downtown Montpelier on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

Officials in the Scott administration estimate it will cost at least $100 million to repair state government buildings severely damaged in July's flooding. And they say the final costs could be significantly higher.

Floodwaters impacted 20 state buildings in Montpelier's Capitol Complex.

Three facilities — the Pavilion Office building, the Vermont Supreme Court Building and the Tax Department building — experienced major damage to their electrical, heating and elevator systems.

Buildings Commissioner Jennifer Fitch says the goal is to rebuild these systems in parts of the buildings well above current flood levels.

"So at this point, it's going to be a very rough estimate, I anticipate it will take us about 6 to 9 months to get actual cost estimates that are more accurate than what we can provide today," Fitch said.

She says the state will use money from its flood insurance policies and FEMA to pay for the initial repair costs, and that they may need to tap state funds to complete these projects down the road.

More from Vermont Public: Key state buildings in Montpelier could remain inaccessible for months

As for the Montpelier Post Office Building, federal officials say it will remain closed until at least the end of next year after experiencing major flooding damage.

In a press release, a General Services Administration spokesperson said the "stabilization" of the building will continue into late 2024. Aside from the Postal Service, the building hosts a handful of other federal government tenants.

Montpelier Rep. Conor Casey says it's critical to bring the facility back online as soon as possible.

"Oh I think it is — it's not just the Post Office — we've had Congressional offices there," Casey said. "Again it's our state capital, it's in the shadow of the Statehouse, we need to have a federal presence in town here."    

Currently, the Postal Service is providing basic customer services in Montpelier using mobile trucks in the parking lot of the former Vermont College campus.

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Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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