PCNR: ADDITIONAL STATE MONEY PLANNED FOR DISASTER RECOVERY

 
    By: Douglas Cunningham & Annie Chesnut

    Additional money to Hudson Valley counties to help them recover from Hurricane Irene will be provided by the state, Sen. Greg Ball said Wednesday.

    Ball said the state contribution will ease the burden on localities as they rebuild streams and roads. Philipstown sustained especially high damage in Putnam, and rebuilding is still continuing. Eligible disaster recovery efforts are typically covered at 75 percent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the remainder split between the state and munipalities.

    Streams have been a particular issue. In a conversation with the  PCN&R,  Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea said that the state regulates the streams but it’s never clear who owns the streams, and noted the difficulty getting funding to maintain stream health.

    Assuming some grant money, or even simple permission to proceed, becomes available, Shea said, getting the work done is a contract job: “You can’t push the burden on the Highway Department.”

    Shea added that, “We just had the exit meeting with FEMA for the highway project. We’ve filed for $1.9375 million in funding [and if it’s approved] we get 87.5 percent of that [FEMA pays 75 percent and NY State pays 12.5 percent.] We had 33 projects—7 large and the rest under the $63,900 [FEMA threshold]…that represents just a huge amount of work” for the Highway Department staff and for Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico.

    It was not immediately known how much of the money to which Ball referred might be headed to Philipstown. The money could be a boon, however. According to figures from Ball, Putnam’s cost of storm-related projects is $7.6 million, and the state will pick up the local 12.5 percent share of $955,062. (ARTICLE)