Williamsburg's budget unchanged by July 8 helicopter crash response

srobertsjr@vagazette.com

After the July 8 helicopter crash in Williamsburg, the city has said the crash will not change budget projections for city services.

In an email, interim city manager Andrew Trivette said the city incurred about $1,121 in overtime and incidental expenses.

“It is important to note that these expenses were absorbed by the budgets of these departments,” Trivette wrote in the email. “The tragic event, despite the unusual nature of the cause, was ultimately an accident and a structure fire.”

The city was not charged for the mutual aid responses from James City or York counties, Trivette wrote.

Further, the city received additional help at no cost from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Virginia State Police, according to Trivette.

“Emergency responses to structure fires and accidents are a basic responsibility of local government,” Trivette wrote.

While the city’s budget has not been significantly impacted, the Bristol Commons community still faces uncertainties about rebuilding the 10-unit complex.

Belfor Property Restoration, the company hired to save victims’ personal belongings, acquired a demolition permit for the complex, according to information provided by the City of Williamsburg Codes and Compliance department.

The permit allows engineers to demolish burned materials and interior finishes to determine which walls and floors are salvageable, according to the permit issued on July 31.

Engineers were still working at the scene to determine what can be saved as of Sept. 17, according to the city’s chief codes and compliance officer Matt Westheimer.

While a recent release of information from the city provided greater detail on the crash, the NTSB has released no further details since the release of its preliminary report on July 20.

Investigations can take months, and it’s unlikely this will be resolved soon, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said in August.

Editor’s note: The Virginia Gazette has edited the video at the top of the story for length and muted the sound.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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