The State Assembly and Senate recently passed bipartisan legislation to provide $90 million in emergency funding to assist homeowners, businesses and municipalities affected by flooding in Lake Ontario and its bays, inlets and connected waterways.
“This is an example of how Albany can come together to do what is needed for our constituents,” said Assemblyman Bob Oaks, R-130th Dist. “I am very proud to have worked closely with the bill’s main sponsors, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, D-136th Dist., and State Sen. Pam Helming, R-54th Dist., to help deliver these important funds. The money not only will help the communities impacted by flooding, but also homeowners and businesses as well.”
The program includes $10 million to cover damage from the March windstorm in Monroe County. Several areas of the state have been subject to extensive flooding and storm damage that greatly impacted homes, businesses and infrastructure. A historically wet spring resulted in serious flood damage along major bodies of water, causing eroded property, damaged houses, disrupted or closed businesses and broken infrastructure.
“Across my district, there have been significant costs to property owners, homeowners’ associations, municipalities and business owners due to the severe flooding,” Helming said. “For communities like the town of Webster, this legislation will provide funding for not only flooding damages but also damages associated with the recent severe windstorm. Local governments are working tirelessly to assist their communities and neighbors as best as they can. Given all the hardships these communities face, this critical legislation will establish a grant program that will allow direct relief to flow to those affected and take some of the burden and pressure off local municipalities. I want to thank all of my colleagues in the Senate for their support and speedy passage of this vitally important legislation.”
The legislation will provide assistance for damage sustained from the flooding not covered by insurance to small businesses, farms and multiple dwellings for repairs to structures and equipment and other storm-related costs; and individual residences for restoration of structures and equipment.
Grants totaling $15 million for homeowners; $25 million for small businesses, neighborhood associations, farms and nonprofit corporations; and $25 million for local governments will be available to repair direct flood-related damage along Lake Ontario; Seneca, Oneida and Cross lakes; and the St. Lawrence, Seneca, Oswego and Oneida rivers. An additional $15 million will be available to counties help mitigate future flooding.
Legislation included grants to counties, cities, towns and villages for damage to drinking water systems, stormwater and sewer systems; grants to counties for flood mitigation to prevent future flood damage; and options for municipalities to adjust assessments based on losses and damages to real property from the flooding.
Affected municipalities that opt into doing so will be able to provide longer-term tax relief to property owners for damaged property in the form of an assessment reduction.
“Providing this relief has been my top priority,” Oaks said. “Once this assistance is available, I will do all that I can to assure a streamlined process so that those impacted can receive help as soon as possible. Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the local officials, road and utility crews, volunteer firefighters and members of the National Guard who have tirelessly worked around the clock to protect the lives and property along the lake’s south shore. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”