AUSABLE FORKS — Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered $6 million in flood-mitigation and strategic-planning funds to Keene and Jay on Wednesday.
The funds are part of Federal Emergency Management Agency appropriations for Super Storm Sandy, he said, allocated to address repairs left from tropical storms Irene and Lee through a program called New York Rising.
Priorities will be set by local leaders.
“What the North Country needs is different than what Buffalo needs,” Cuomo told a group of Essex County officials assembled at the Jay Community Center, where he also announced $1.5 million for Upper Jay Fire District’s new firehouse.
Setting redevelopment priorities, the governor said, is a second — and local — reconstruction step after federal, state and county emergency response winds down.
Every era faces a challenge, the governor said, and the challenge of this era is how we handle the new weather patterns.
“It’s been a constant cycle for me since the day I was sworn in,” Cuomo told the Essex County gathering.
“But every cloud has a silver lining — if you’re willing to find it, if you’re willing to see it.”
All three extreme-weather events — Irene, Lee and Sandy — happened in fewer than three years, he recounted, even though they were known as “500-year events.”
“Does this mean we can expect a higher frequency of extreme-weather situations?” he asked.
“Are we ready for it? Are we smart enough in rebuilding to prepare for it?”
The $6 million total is to be appropriated for projects between the towns of Keene and Jay.
“So when we go through this again,” the governor said, “it’s not as damaging or as severe.”
The program here, as elsewhere in the state, is called New York Rising and is organized through Community Reconstruction Committees.
Jay and Keene each established a five-person citizen committee to sort mitigation and reconstruction priorities.