Orleans municipal damages, costs from lake flooding add up to $2.75 million

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 November 2017 at 5:10 pm

FEMA expected to reimburse municipalities for much of their expenses in fighting flood

File photos: Jason Hardenbrook, a Kendall Highway Department employee, picks up a sandbag on May 5. Highway workers teamed with inmates from the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica to fill and stack sandbags. Kendall should be reimbursed any overtime, fuel and out-of-pocket costs for its response to the lake flooding this year.

WASHINGTON, DC – The decision by the Trump Administration to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the New York State southshore counties could result in more than $2 million collectively to the lakeshore towns of Carlton, Kendall and Yates, as well as Orleans County.

The three towns and the county collectively spent about $250,000 for overtime, diesel fuel, and other expenses with filling and moving sandbags, said Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management director.

The flooding and erosion from the high lake waters also caused $2.5 million to 14 sites that are publicly owned in the county, Banker said. That includes infrastructure and municipal property.

The disaster declaration doesn’t include damage to residential and commercial properties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will review the records submitted by the municipalities and should issue reimbursement checks, Banker said today.

The FEMA declaration so far includes the southshore counties of Jefferson, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne.

The declaration releases FEMA public assistance and hazard mitigation funds to cover emergency work, repairs and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities, as well as make long-term improvements to reduce the impact of future disasters, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer said in a news release on Monday.

Sandbags are stacked by the Kendall Town Hall on May 5.

“This is a massive and well-deserved shot in the arm for many lakefront counties that we fought long and hard to secure,” Schumer said. “It will provide federal funds for many counties hit hard by the relentless lake flooding, but we will keep up the pressure until we secure the same support for both Monroe and Cayuga Counties. Residents along Lake Ontario dealt with record-high lake levels and it has caused them to close businesses, caused damage to homes and eroded shoreline protections.”

“This Major Disaster Declaration for New York State is an important step to help the communities near Lake Ontario recover from the record flooding this past year,” Gillibrand said. “This designation unlocks important FEMA funding to repair damaged infrastructure and helps ensure that the Lake Ontario shoreline is better protected against future flooding. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that the residents hurt by this severe flooding have all the resources they need to fully rebuild.”

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that, with this disaster declaration grant assistance will be made available to state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, to reimburse costs incurred for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. This funding is available on a cost-sharing basis; FEMA generally covers 75 percent of the eligible costs for permanent and emergency work.

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