Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester), Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City), Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern), and Suffern Mayor Trish Abato held a press conference with a coalition of New Jersey legislators, Assemblyman Eustace and Assemblywoman Schepisi, to announce the inclusion of the Rockland-Bergen Flood Mitigation Task Force in the 2014-15 New York State Budget. The elected officials stood with local residents from Rockland and New Jersey to discuss the creation of the Task Force and long term flood mitigation efforts.
The Task Force creates a historical partnership between the two states, designed to address the chronic flooding that has devastated communities from both states for years. The Task Force will be comprised of volunteers from Rockland and Bergen who will collaborate with municipalities within the bi-state region to develop a comprehensive long term plan to tackle flooding.
"Residents who suffer from chronic flooding to their homes will finally receive real results. Flood waters are blind to political and state boundaries which is why my colleagues and I made sure to provide funding for the Rockland Bergen Flood Mitigation Task Force in the State Budget,” said Senator Carlucci. “This task force, with critical funding to back it up, will work to protect flood prone homeowners on the border of New York and New Jersey."
“Flood mitigation policies need to be addressed on a regional basis. If we are going to address the flooding issues of Rockland residents we need to ensure that both States and all municipalities are working together. Hurricane Sandy presented us with a perfect example of how regional coordination could have benefited Rockland residents. I worked with the DEC in the lead-up to the storm to lower the levels of Lake Deforest through strategic releases to prevent flooding. Unfortunately, our efforts lasted only a few hours as the downstream reservoirs in New Jersey were filled to capacity. A collaborative effort between the two States could have coordinated releases in the region to prepare for the storm and prevent flooding. This task force will provide a mechanism for that collaboration,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
“The task force will provide a more formal structure, which will enhance the ability of the community to work together to respond more effectively to the environmental conditions and chronic flooding that has plagued residents of both New York and New Jersey for far too long,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee.
“Although separated by the state border, residents in Bergen and Rockland Counties share a common problem — widespread and out of control flooding. Both states have an opportunity to work collaboratively on solving an issue which impacts homeowners and businesses and often causes significant financial loss,” said Assemblywoman Schepisi.
"This joint effort between New York and New Jersey will mitigate flooding hazards along major tributaries and watersheds throughout Clarkstown, Rockland County and down to New Jersey improving our residents' quality of life,” said Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack. “I thank Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Zebrowski for proposing this legislation and working to help our residents who have been plagued with flooding for years."