New York State will foot the bill for local costs associated with storm-related clean-up in 25 counties. In the first of two reports, Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas tells us about the announcement Governor Andrew Cuomo made in Schoharie County...
Schoharie County suffered the most when it came to total damages from last year's tropical storms Irene and Lee: an estimated $102.5 million dollars in recovery projects, with a local cost of over $12.8 million.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told the audience at the firehouse, that the state will pick up $61 million in local costs for 25 counties. Cuomo said when he toured flood-stricken areas he was impressed by the people's resilience and community spirit - sharing a story of his one-on-one meeting with a local farmer whose land was devastated. Cuomo explained that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually covers 75% of eligible disaster response and recovery costs. The remaining 25% is usually split by the state and localities.
The Governor asserted that the state will pick up the 12.5% local share. That will cover costs associated with emergency shelter, road, water system and infrastructure repair, stream and riverbed mitigation, and more.
Republican Greene County Legislature Chairman Wayne Speenburgh praised the Democratic Governor's handling of the disasater, which began before the storms hit. The losses were large and small: Greene County’s estimated cost of recovery projects totals more than $35.5 million dollars. Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile told reporters the village lost about $19,000 in property tax revenue as a result of the flood -- about 5 percent of its $750,000 annual budget.
Storm costs were about $30 million in Ulster County, with the local share costing approx. $3.7 million. The funding for all of those local costs, according to Cuomo's press office, will come from money set aside by the state Legislature and additional federal funds requested by the Governor.
Cuomo praised the federal response to the storms but says more needs to be done. He's also aware that some storm victims are still waiting for direct aid from FEMA.