Stitzel, Page & Fletcher Closes First “FEMA Buyouts” From Tropical Storm Irene
April 29, 2013
On March 26th, Stitzel, Page & Fletcher attorneys on behalf of the Towns of Bethel and Bolton, and with the assistance of Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission, closed the first Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program “buyouts” in the State of Vermont. Through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, municipalities are awarded grants funded 75% by FEMA and 25% by the State to purchase properties substantially damaged in the storm to preserve natural floodplains and to prevent further loss of property, both real and personal, in future flooding events. As an incentive to convey their properties, landowners are awarded the pre-Irene appraised value for their properties, and in return purchasing municipalities commit both to remove any remaining damaged structures from the properties and to preserve the properties in a generally open state in perpetuity. For more information about FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program or for assistance with your municipality’s real property transactions, please contact Robert E. Fletcher or David W. Rugh.
U.S. Department of Education Issues IDEA Part B Final Regulations Related to Parental Consent to Access Public Benefits or Insurance Such as Medicaid
February 19, 2013
On February 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education published in the Federal Register, Final Regulations which change the frequency with which public agencies, including school districts, must obtain parental consent to bill Medicaid for such reimbursable services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and mental health counseling received by a Medicaid eligible student pursuant to their Individual Education Plan (‘IEP’). 34 C.F.R.§300.154(d).
As of March 18, 2013, the effective date of the new regulations, school districts no longer are required to seek parental consent each time Medicaid reimbursement is sought. The new regulations provide that school districts:
- May obtain a one-time written consent from the parent, prior to accessing or billing Medicaid but after providing the parent with written notice that explains all of the protections available to parents under Part B (34 C.F.R.§300.154(d)(2)(v)).
- The consent must specify (a) the personally identifiable information which may be disclosed; (b) the purpose of the disclosure; and (c) the agency to which the disclosure may be made. The consent must also clearly specify that the parent understands and agrees that the public agency may access the child’s or the parent’s public benefit or insurance (Medicaid) to pay for services.
- The written notification to parents must be written in language understandable to the general public and in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
The Department of Education- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (‘OSERS’) has issued Non-Regulatory Guidance on these Final Regulations which can be accessed at:
SP&F Helps to Resolve Litigation Involving Water Project
February 5, 2013
In January 2013, the Town of Waitsfield settled long-standing litigation with the owner of property adjoining the well site for the Town's municipal water project. Having obtaining positive decisions from the Vermont Superior Court, Civil Division, on the issues of condemnation and damages in a proceeding to acquire a small portion of the well site property, and from the Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division, in proceedings challenging the Town's Act 250 and local zoning permits, SP&F attorneys assisted the Town in successfully negotiating an agreement that terminated all remaining litigation and appeals related to the municipal water project. The Town is now poised to complete this important infrastructure project and has begun to provide water to customers within its service area.
Firm Adds Two New Associates
November 12, 2012
The Firm of Stitzel, Page & Fletcher, P.C., has added two new associates, Eric G. Derry and Diane M. Sherman, to its staff, bringing the total number of attorneys in the Firm to ten. The Firm is excited about having both Eric and Diane on board.
Eric is a 2008 graduate of Vermont Law School, and came to us after four years of private practice in the Upper Connecticut River Valley. He litigated employment related claims, and litigated land use issues related to telecommunication facilities. Eric is a native of Chittenden County, and a UVM grad.
Diane worked for two years as a clerk with the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court before joining the Firm. A cum laude graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, Diane has dual undergraduate degrees from Michigan State University (Summa Cum Laude) and a Masters in Environmental Policy and Planning. Before attending law school, Diane worked in public policy for a Washington, D.C. "think tank" and for the EPA.
Eric and Diane will each work on assignments for our municipal clients, and Diane will also work on personnel and education projects.