U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Monday that they’re pleased FEMA added Clinton and Essex counties to the disaster declaration for the heavy rain and flooding last month.
“(That) will help them make repairs and rebuild from the storm,” Schumer said in a news release.
“This federal disaster assistance is necessary because it will give reassurance to our communities that the federal government will be there to help as they continue their response efforts and begin to recover from the storm.”
Gillibrand said no one can question the severity of the storm events that occurred.
“We need any available federal assistance to continue the hard work of cleaning up and rebuilding,” she said in the release.
“These federal funds will go a long way to help our communities stand strong.”
Heavy rainfall in June forced hundreds in the affected counties to evacuate from their homes, destroyed large amounts of personal property and rendered critical infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, power stations and canal locks, inoperable or significantly damaged, Gillibrand said.
The reimbursement program is a cost-share program, with the federal government covering at least 75 percent of eligible costs.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously issued a state disaster declaration for all 15 counties.
He requested federal aid after preliminary assessments showed more than $32.7 million in damage to public infrastructure in those areas.
IRENE STILL PRESENT
In the Town of Jay, Douglas said, even as they are dealing with new storm damage, they are still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene, which struck in August 2011.
“Right now, we’re redoing all our sewer facilities for (the hamlet of) AuSable Forks and Black Brook,” he said.
“We’ve been spending, since Irene, all our time on disasters — there are 52 project sheets just for the Town of Jay alone.”
The town borrowed $3 million to do the repairs, with about $2.5 million recovered from government disaster funds so far.
“You have to spend it to get it back.”
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.