6 months after the New York State Assembly and Senate put forth legislation to help local governments deal with the impact of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken action. The announcement this afternoon was that $60.9 million would be provided by the State Government to cover the recovery and disaster relief of Counties across the State of New York.
The normal process requires that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually covers 75% of eligible disaster response and recovery costs, and the remaining 25% is typically shared equally by the State and localities. In 2006, after the 100-year flood of the time, New York State covered the cost to local government. On October 14, 2011 Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo introduced Bill A08654A – which asked to again have the 12.5% required of local government to be covered by the State. The Bill did not mention where those funds were to come from.
The action by Gov. Cuomo will take funds from the “Millionaire’s Tax” among other sources to pay for the share of monies that local governments were to have paid. This payment will help the hardest hit areas: Schoharie County ($102.5 million for recovery projects – $12 million previously due from local governments), Broome County ($75.2 million – $9.4 million) and Tioga County ($57.4 million – $12.8 million) are the top 3 Counties.
State Senator Tom Libous said earlier today,
“Our area was hit hard by flooding and by its after effects, which our local governments are struggling to afford. Many municipalities are faced with doing nothing or raising property taxes to cover the local share of the recovery. We worked with Governor Cuomo to have the state pick up this cost so that we can continue moving forward without harming our local taxpayers.”
Our request to speak with Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan was declined, though the Office of the Mayor did provide the following response on the Governor’s announcement
“Today’s news is very encouraging. The City incurred a variety of costs in last fall’s flood, but this State allocation will help us cover them and limit the impact on local taxpayers. We greatly appreciate the State’s continued attention to our flood recovery needs, and we look forward to bouncing back stronger than ever.”
We were able to speak with Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo about Bill A08654A that she introduced, as well as the impact to constituents. We were also able to get a moment to follow-up on a press release today about the potential of becoming the NY State Assembly Majority Leader, as well as the prior questions of redistricting and a potential run for the newly created 22nd Congressional District currently held by Richard Hanna.
As of 2/7/12 Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee have led to 61,133 applications for aid from FEMA totaling $154 million. The impact on small and local businesses is reflected in the $131 million in low interest loans approved by the SBA (as of 2/7/12).
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