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Gov. Cuomo takes further action to help those impacted by recent flooding

Press Release

Thu, Jun 1st 2017 09:20 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, far left, speaks with people impacted by the spring flooding. (Photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page).
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, far left, speaks with people impacted by the spring flooding. (Photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page).
Cuomo takes further action to help those impacted by flooding
Governor directs State Parks to implement speed limit for recreational vessels operating within 600 feet of shore; signs legislation amending Clean Water Infrastructure Act to provide financial assistance to municipalities impacted by water-related emergencies available sooner
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced $7 million in state funding to assist homeowners who have been impacted by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The new investment program will provide up to $40,000 for homeowners to support interior and exterior repairs to structural damage caused by flooding, as well as the repair or replacement of permanent fixtures. The governor also signed legislation amending the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to provide emergency financial assistance for municipalities to be available immediately. The amended legislation removed a 120-day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.

This funding is in addition to the $10 million in state funding announced for eligible municipalities, and the up to $5 million in grants announced for small businesses with physical damage or loss as a result of flooding. These programs are open to eligible applicants in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties, and provide grants for flood-related costs that have not or will not be compensated by any other federal, state or local recovery program or any third-party payers.

"As water levels remain at an historic high throughout this region, it is vital that we continue to provide relief and resources to residents and business owners who have been impacted by this unprecedented flooding,"  Cuomo said. "With this additional funding to provide direct aid to affected homeowners, we are ensuring that residents along the coast are able to make needed repairs to their homes and recover from the flooding."
The original legislation did not allow for emergency assistance to be available until 120 days after the effective date, or Aug. 18, 2017. However, due to the nature of emergency situations faced by municipalities across upstate, and in anticipation of such emergency situations in the near future, the amended legislation will remove the 120-day waiting period, making the emergency loans available sooner.

The $7 million in new funding for homeowners will be provided through New York State Homes and Community Renewal. It will be available to eligible municipalities and not-for-profit housing organizations seeking to assist homeowners. Applications are available on the HCR website. Homeowners will ultimately apply for assistance via their municipality or appropriate not-for-profit provider. They homeowners may contact the HCR office of community renewal directly to express interest and ask questions by emailing [email protected] or calling 518-474-2057.‚Äč

The governor also directed the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a 5-mile-per hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline as part of the state's ongoing response to coastal flooding in the region. Vessels operating within 600 feet of shore must observe a 5-mile-per-hour speed limit to reduce impacts to shoreline residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating. 

Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5-mile-per-hour speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels continue to rise throughout the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system, the governor directed State Parks to institute the expanded speed restriction.

The governor's team said waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Reducing speeds will result in reduced boat wakes and lessen the wave action along the shore. Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters. State agencies are working with municipalities to educate boaters, and have positioned digital message boards at strategic locations throughout the region - including the Village of Lewiston waterfront.

"DEC remains committed to providing direct assistance to homeowners and local governments throughout the region to address impacts to infrastructure from this record flooding,"  DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Through the governor's ongoing leadership, this new funding for homeowners and actions to reduce boating speed limits will help homeowners recover as we reduce risks associated with coastal erosion."

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Acting Commissioner Roger L. Parrino Sr. said, "We are continuing our aggressive response efforts in cooperation with local, state and federal partners to mitigate against the continuing flooding issues in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River regions.  By making this funding available, Gov. Cuomo is helping homeowners impacted by continuing flooding issues begin the recovery process, and assisting with making communities whole once again."

"Lowering speeds in close proximity to the shoreline is critical in reducing coastal flooding impacts already felt by communities and for boater safety,"  State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "At the governor's direction, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is implementing reduced speeds near the coast in an effort to better ensure the safety of boaters from unknown hazards and the safety of neighbors from any additional flood impacts that could occur during this time of emergency."
Report Suspected Price Gouging

Cuomo is asking residents to report suspected price gouging to the Lake Ontario Flood Assistance Hotline at 866-244-3839. The hotline is available for residents and businesses concerned about potential price gouging or other exploitative practices by service providers in the area. Those who believe they are being charged excessive prices for any essential consumer goods or services during the present disaster situation are urged to call the hotline. Staff will connect them to the Department of State Division of Consumer Protection.
 
Weekend Hours at Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers,
DEC Permitting Offices Throughout  Summer 
To continue the state's efforts in helping residents and businesses recover from flooding and damage, the New York State Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers and DEC permitting offices will offer weekend hours throughout the summer. In addition, those who are not able to visit the Emergency Response Mobile Command Center can call the Lake Ontario Flood Assistance Hotline at 1-866-244-3839, from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. seven days a week. They can receive help with insurance-related issues, assistance with flood mitigation measures such as sandbags, and for technical guidance regarding on-site repairs to their property.
To date, the state has assisted more than 1,240 individuals at the Mobile Command Centers, fielded more than 700 calls through the hotline, and DEC has issued more than 420 permits.
In Niagara County, the Emergency Response Mobile Command Center will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town of Newfane, Olcott Fire Co., 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road.
DEC has also deployed a team of experienced coastal engineers to the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region to meet with property owners, conduct site visits and offer technical assistance. DEC's engineers stand ready to work with property owners so that protective structures can be repaired and homeowners can take appropriate actions expeditiously. DEC will continue to provide support to communities through expedited permitting, site inspections, and technical guidance at regional offices.

DEC Regional Permit Office Contacts and Hours
NYS DEC Region 9
(Niagara County)
Regional Permit Administrator
270 Michigan Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14203-2915
Phone: 716-851-7165
Fax: 716-851-7168
Email: [email protected] 
Open Daily: 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Regional Resource Deployment

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Emergency Management is working with county and local partners to monitor water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Additional resources from other state stockpiles have been shifted to locations in Monroe County to prepare for worsening conditions. To date, more than 1.3 million sandbags and 11 sandbaggers - at least one for each county, along with 62 pumps of various sizes with associated hoses - have been deployed to affected communities to help mitigate flooding to impacted counties.
In Niagara County:
  • 60,000 sandbags distributed
  • 1 sandbagger deployed
  • 50 National Guard members
  • Local sandbagging operations at 1691 Lockport Road, Olcott
  • 15 pumps and hoses of various sizes.
  • 1 front-end loader1 lowboy trailer
  • 1 14-ton trailer
  • 1 large dump truck
Currently, Lake Ontario is 31 inches above its level of one year ago and while these levels are not anticipated to increase in the near future, forecasters expect that it will take many weeks for water levels to normalize.

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY-Alert, the state's free, all-hazards, subscription-based alerting system. For more information or to register, visit www.nyalert.gov. For information on flood safety, visit the DHSES website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/flood. For more information on the Storm Recovery Permit, visit the DEC website. Details of the general permit and instructions for applicants can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/permits/89343.html.

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