Mentz – After meeting with the residents of Haiti Island, New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio is calling for Governor Spitzer to declare a state of emergency in the Town of Mentz. By designating the area in a state of emergency, the Governor would be able to release extensive state funding and assistance for the residents of Haiti Island.
“The residents of Haiti Island are in a state of emergency,” said Senator Nozzolio. “While meeting with the residents, I was able to observe the conditions that they are being forced to live under. I am calling upon the Governor to immediately declare a state of emergency and unleash the full resources of the New York State government to help these people.”
“If there were a fire or serious injury, there is no way that an ambulance or fire truck could cross the Haiti Island Bridge. The continued closure of the bridge is causing a critical and life-threatening situation for the residents of Haiti Island,” continued Nozzolio.
If Haiti Island is designated to be in a state of emergency by the Governor, state assistance would be more readily available for the residents living there. State assistance could include funding for the reconstruction of Haiti Island Bridge as well as emergency measures to provide immediate water and home heating fuel to the residents.
Since the closure of the Haiti Island Bridge over a week ago, the residents of Haiti Island have had limited access to basic necessities such as food supplies, potable water and home heating fuel. The Mentz Town Board has adopted a Resolution declaring a state of emergency.
Attached is Senator Nozzolio’s letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer.
August 6, 2007
The Honorable Eliot Spitzer
Albany, New York 12224
Re: Haiti Island Bridge
Town of Mentz
Dear Governor Spitzer:
Two weeks ago, a portion of the Haiti Island Bridge in the Town of Mentz collapsed and fell into the Seneca River. The portion of the bridge that fell was part of the original bridge that collapsed in 1989. A temporary Bailey bridge that was placed there to allow access to residents of the Island to the mainland is now threatened by weakened beams and debris.
Last weekend, I met with residents of Haiti Island and was appalled at the conditions they have been forced to live under since the bridge was closed. For the last two weeks, the only way for residents to obtain food, water and home heating fuel was by walking over the bridge. As you can imagine, this severely limits what can be transported.
More importantly, these residents are cut off from emergency fire and medical response assistance. If there were a fire or serious injury, there is no way for an ambulance or fire truck to cross the bridge.
It is my understanding that if a state of emergency were declared for this area than emergency state assistance would be available for the residents of Haiti Island. This assistance would include state funding for the reconstruction of the Haiti Island Bridge as well as emergency measures to provide immediate water and fuel supplies to the residents.
Last week, the Mentz Town Board passed a formal Resolution declaring an immediate state of emergency in the Town and is working to authorize emergency repairs to the bridge to allow at least partial access for residents.
Carl Ford, the Regional Director for the Department of Transportation, has been on-site and has been tremendously helpful in facilitating the engineering and inspection reports needed to determine the next steps in the process to re-open the bridge. It is obvious, however, that we are looking at a costly expenditure in order to ensure the safety and security of those individuals who live on the Island and depend on the bridge for access to the mainland.
Your immediate attention to this situation is needed and will be deeply appreciated.
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With best wishes.
New York State Senate, 54th District