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Cuomo signs legislation to provide $45 million for communities impacted by Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River flooding

Press Release

Thu, Jul 6th 2017 06:00 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs legislation for $55 million toward homeowners and business affected by the flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario. (Photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs legislation for $55 million toward homeowners and business affected by the flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario. (Photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page)
Provides vital assistance to homeowners, small businesses, farms, not-for-profit organizations and local governments; governor will call upon FEMA to issue an expedited major disaster declaration & ask Trump to immediately appoint new leadership to IJC 
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday signed legislation to provide a total of $45 million in relief to communities impacted by the historic Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River flooding. The legislation expands eligibility and funding for programs previously announced by Cuomo, and will provide vital assistance to homeowners, small businesses, farms, not-for-profit organizations, homeowner associations, owners of multiple dwellings, and local governments that have suffered direct physical damage as a result of the flooding. The legislation also provides up to $10 million to reimburse Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties for damages sustained as a result of the severe storms and flooding in July 2015, and for Monroe County for damages resulting from the severe storm of March 2017.
In addition, the governor will request an expedited major disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to unlock federal assistance for local homeowners, businesses and governments.
Amid ongoing questions about the transparency and management of the International Joint Commission, Cuomo has called upon President Donald Trump to immediately appoint new leadership to the IJC, which is responsible for regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The governor is requesting Trump replace the two sitting commissioners and to fill a vacant commissioner seat. All three U.S. commissioners are appointed by the president and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
"By expanding eligibility and funding for these vital programs, we will help more New Yorkers get back on their feet," Cuomo said. "This new legislation underscores our commitment to stand by the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities every step of the way as they rebuild and become even stronger than before."
$15 Million for Homeowners
The legislation increases the original program size from $7 million to $15 million and the maximum award from $40,000 to $50,000, and expands eligibility to include all primary homeowners, as well as non-primary homeowners with income up to $275,000. Homeowners who sustained direct physical flood-related damage will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 under this program. Program assistance will reimburse homeowners for eligible losses, including repairs to and restoration of structures, equipment, and other physical damage. 
The program is being administered through not-for profit housing organizations seeking to help homeowners affected by the flooding. Homeowners seeking assistance are encouraged to contact the not-for-profit organizations serving their county to determine eligibility, ask questions, and apply for program assistance HERE or express interest at the HCR offices listed below or contact [email protected] or 518-474-2057. The HCR offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Homes and Community Renewal Buffalo office, Electric Tower, Suite 105, 535 Washington St., Buffalo
$15 Million for Small Businesses, Farms, Homeowner Associations & Not-for-Profit Organizations
The legislation increases the program size from $5 million to $15 million and the maximum award from $20,000 to $50,000, and expands eligibility to include farms, homeowner associations, owners of multiple dwellings, and not-for-profit organizations, in addition to small businesses. Small businesses, farms, homeowners associations and not-for-profit organizations that sustained direct physical flood-related damage will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 under this program, while owners of multiple dwellings will be eligible to receive up to $20,000.
Program assistance will calculated at 50 percent of eligible loss, compensating eligible entities for repairs to and restoration of structures, equipment and other physical damage and declines in revenue in excess of 15 percent as a result of closures or reduced business.
Empire State Development is administering the program. Applications and program guidelines are available HERE. Eligible entities interested in participating in the program are also encouraged to ask questions and express interest at the ESD offices listed below or contact [email protected] or 518-292-5348. The ESD offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Empire State Development Western New York office, 95 Perry St., Suite 500, Buffalo
Empire State Development Niagara Falls office, 222 First St., 7th Floor, Niagara Falls
$15 Million for Counties, Cities, Towns, Villages, Special Districts
The legislation increases the program size from $5 million to $15 million and expands eligibility to include flood mitigation and construction of resiliency measures in addition to infrastructure repair and restoration. Counties, cities, towns, villages and special districts that sustained direct physical flood-related damage are eligible to receive up to $1,000,000 for repairs to and restoration of municipal infrastructure and systems and up to $500,000 for flood mitigation, construction of resiliency measures or flood control projects.
The program is being administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Applications and program guidelines are available at http://www.nyshcr.org/.
Eligible entities interested in participating in the program are also encouraged to ask questions and express interest at the HCR offices listed below or contact [email protected] or 518-474-2057. The HCR offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Homes and Community Renewal Buffalo office, Electric Tower, Suite 105, 535 Washington St.,
Buffalo 
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "I have seen firsthand during multiple visits to the communities along Lake Ontario the damage that has happened to roads, floodwalls and the public water infrastructure in these waterfront communities. Gov. Cuomo's signing of this bill signals New York's commitment to continuing its support with funding and other assistance to help these communities get back on their feet."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "With battered buildings and flooded neighborhoods up and down the Lake Ontario shoreline, it's clear that immediate relief is needed. Today, Gov. Cuomo is signing legislation that provides $45 million in assistance for communities impacted by the recent flooding to aid New Yorkers through the challenging recovery process."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Thanks to the swift action of Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature, HCR and our nonprofit partners will help residents who qualify for financial assistance to receive it as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are committed to helping residents whose homes, farms and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the recent flooding. Together, we'll help these lakeside communities come back more resilient and safer than they were before."
New York State Sen. Rob Ortt said, "I'm proud both houses of the legislature were able to work together to provide much-needed relief to families, and I applaud Gov. Cuomo for enacting this bill into law. The visible damage to Sunset Grill and its marina is a microcosm of what's been happening along the entire Lake Ontario shoreline. This state aid underscores the importance of working together on both sides of the aisle to deliver resources to communities, businesses and families in dire need of relief. Those who have suffered property damage and have been burdened by the devastation will finally receive the help they need to rebuild and move forward."
Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello said, "The damage caused by the flooding of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario has been devastating for our residents. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, we will not only be able to restore the beauty and serenity of the shoreline, but also restore peace of mind for those who live and work along the shore. By directing critical funding to impacted homeowners and businesses, as well as to local governments, the governor is helping New Yorkers restore their properties and ensuring the resiliency of our communities."
Assemblyman Michael J. Norris said, "Gov. Cuomo recognizes the challenges facing residents and businesses along Lake Ontario and is listening to our needs. Since the flooding began earlier this year, the governor has stepped up for our residents and businesses, including by declaring a state of emergency. The new funding announced today for our businesses and homeowners is another crucial step toward restoring the prosperity of our communities. I am grateful for Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature for getting this done for New Yorkers."
Additional Emergency Funding
The announced funding is in addition to approximately $1 million in expedited funding - up to $500,000 for the Town of Greece and up to $500,000 for the Village of Sodus Point - to conduct emergency repairs and upgrades to flood-impacted wastewater treatment systems. The governor has 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 removes a 120-day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.
No Wake Enforcement
On Sunday, the governor announced ramped-up efforts to enforce no wake zones along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline. Multiple state agencies deployed additional resources to assist with local enforcement efforts, including a total of 20 watercraft and 42 law enforcement officers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and State Police.
As part of ongoing enforcement efforts, local municipalities may issue tickets carrying fines of up to $250 per infraction to recreational boaters violating the 5-mph speed limit within 600 feet of shore, which was announced by the governor in May.
The state has also launched a multimedia outreach campaign to ensure boaters are aware of and abiding by the speed limit. To date, state law enforcement personnel have made nearly 300 stops. 
Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers
To continue the state's efforts in helping communities recover from flooding, the state Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers continue to 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, for 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 2,000 individuals at the Mobile Command Centers, fielded more than 1,900 calls through the hotline, and DEC has issued more than 950 permits and emergency authorizations
•Sunday, July 9; Thursday, July 13; Monday, July 17; Friday, July 21; Tuesday, July 25; and Saturday, July 29: Niagara County - Town of Newfane, Olcott Fire Co., 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road
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, approximately 2,100 feet of temporary dams in seven locations, and almost 1.6 million sandbags and 11 sandbaggers - at least one for each county, along with 166 pumps of various sizes with associated hoses - have been deployed to affected communities to help mitigate flooding to impacted counties.
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 it will take many weeks for water levels to normalize.
All 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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