Senator Farley Announces Senate Budget Provides Critical Flood Relief

Hugh T. Farley

March 13, 2007

State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady) announced with fellow members of the New York State Senate Majority Conference that their new State Budget proposal includes a $10 million financial assistance package to help counties throughout Upstate New York that were impacted by the devastating floods which occurred in June and November of 2006.

The Senate's budget also includes a provision that will help to provide additional State aid to school districts in areas that suffered a reduction in property values of three percent or more as a result of the flooding.

"The devastation from this summer's floods remains visible, but the spirit of the people of the Mohawk Valley has not been broken," said Senator Hugh Farley (R-C, Schenectady). "These funds will go a long way in helping our communities to continue their recovery."

"This special Senate Majority funding means that hardworking taxpayers won’t see their tax bills skyrocket," said Senator Thomas Libous (R-I-C, Binghamton), whose District covers Broome, Tioga and Chenango Counties – all of which were devastated by June's and November's floods. "With tax losses across my three counties reaching upward of $2 million, it’s the right thing to do to prevent a bad situation from getting even worse."

Senator John Bonacic (R-I-C, Mt. Hope), said "Communities have been destroyed and lives lost because of the flooding of the past few years. We need to stop 'studying' potential solutions, and start implementing them. A comprehensive approach including more flood buyout funding, the ability to do work in streams and along stream banks, tax relief for those affected by flooding, and intelligent reservoir release policies are necessary components of the solution. I urge the Assembly to join with us to work toward comprehensive flood relief."

"This assistance will provide some much needed relief to Central New York municipalities which have been devastated by flooding in our Upstate region," said Senator John A. DeFrancisco. "This funding is essential if we are going to help some of the hardest hit areas recover from the devastation and prevent taxpayers from feeling the financial impact of these destructive floods."

"This relief is not only necessary, it is essential." said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R,C-Rome) who was the Oneida County Executive during the floods. "There were many constituents whose businesses and homes were destroyed. At that time, there was no way for us to forecast how much tax revenue was at stake. This proactive effort will protect taxpayers in the areas that were destroyed and make sure that county services are maintained."

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson), said "This funding will allow the devastated communities to start the long process of getting back on their feet. It's a first step that is long overdue, but crucial to their recovery, and I am happy the Senate Majority was able to assist them in their time of need."

"Last year's June and November floods devastated substantial portions of my senatorial district, with municipal, business and personal damages in the millions of dollars," Sen. James L. Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta). "The state senate is standing with our local taxpayers to help offset some of the significant losses experienced last year."

"This action throws a fiscal lifeline to our localities and local property taxpayers. It’s a small state investment that will bring enormous hope and relief to many communities," said Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira).

The $10 million financial assistance package will help cover the costs of services and expenses incurred by affected cities, towns and school districts.

The second provision, which relates to school districts in flood ravaged areas, adjusts the calculation of wealth for school districts that experienced a greater than three percent reduction in overall property value. For school aid purposes, the State uses property wealth figures based on property values dating back three years, to 2004. The measure approved by the Senate would eliminate this lag on full valuation and utilize a current year, actual valuation. This will ensure that those districts that have been hard hit by a reduction in property values will have that reduced "wealth" taken into consideration in their State school aid formula calculation. (A lower wealth calculation will make them eligible for additional State aid.