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Monday, May 22, 2017

Senate passes bill to support flood victims

All WNY News     Monday, May 22, 2017    

PRESS RELEASE



ALBANY -- State Senator Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, today announced the New York State Senate has passed legislation that would make $55 million in grants available to those affected by flooding along the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River.

Senator Ortt sponsors the measure (S6423) that would create a new Great Lakes Flood Recovery Grant Program. The program would provide financial assistance to shoreline property owners, businesses, farms, not-for-profit corporations, municipalities, and counties that have suffered damage from unusually high lake levels, particularly in Lake Ontario, which borders Senator Ortt's entire district.

Senator Ortt said, "I've seen firsthand the devastation the flooding has left behind as it continues to impact residents, close businesses and destroy critical infrastructure along the coastline. These funds would ease the burden for those who have been hit hard by the historic flooding throughout our region. The grant program will provide the much-needed relief coastal communities need to rebuild."  

Modeled after the program created after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, the Great Lakes Flood Recovery Grant Program would help communities rebuild after this latest natural disaster.

The grant program would provide up to $20 million to help with flood-related damage. Dispensed through the state's Empire State Development Corporation, the grants would cover repairs to structures, equipment, and other storm-related costs not covered under insurance or an existing local, state, or federal recovery program. Homeowners could receive up to $15,500 in state aid, and owners of multiple residences could receive up to $30,000. Small businesses and farms could be eligible for up to $50,000. And, not-for-profit corporations could receive up to $100,000.

Additionally, a total of $20 million in grants would be available to municipalities and special districts for infrastructure repairs caused by the flooding and high water levels and not already covered under existing funding programs. Each municipality would be eligible for up to $1 million to repair roads, bridges and other transportation systems, drinking water supply systems, sanitary and/or storm sewer systems, levy and/or flood protection systems, and other municipal equipment. For other municipal costs that may not be eligible for that funding, an additional $10 million in grants would be provided by the state.

Counties would be eligible for a total of $5 million in grants for flood mitigation or flood control projects costing at least $250,000, up to $500,000, and related to the recent Great Lakes water levels.  

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.

Meantime, Senator Ortt has sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to request the assistance of FEMA to deliver relief to Lake Ontario property owners.  

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