Senate Majority Pledges an additional $5 Million in Funding for Residential Flood Aid for Families Affected by Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Flood Damage

Rich Funke

January 25, 2018

Lawmakers Call on Governor to Allow Greater Flexibility with Existing Funds in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence Flood Relief and Recovery Grant Program; Says State Must Keep Promise to Those Affected

The New York State Senate Majority today pledged an additional $5 million in State and Municipal Facilities (SAM) funding to bolster previous relief and provide necessary financial assistance to the flood-stricken regions near Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the influx of funds, lawmakers called on the Governor to take the necessary steps to transfer the $11 million currently in the commercial pool, and not being utilized, to assist residents affected by the flooding, which is consistent with his Executive Budget proposal.

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Our Senate Republican Majority is committed to each and every one of the residents whose homes were devastated as a result of the flooding that occurred in and around Lake Ontario. These funds are important and necessary, and are only one part of what the state must do to fulfill all of its obligation to those who were affected.”

Last year, a historically wet spring resulted in serious flood damage along Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and their tributaries. Properties eroded away, houses sustained significant damage, businesses were forced to close, and infrastructure has been destroyed.

Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester) said, “After the severe flood damage of last year, a commitment was made by the Governor and New York State government to assist the homeowners impacted. These funds will provide that assistance to more south shore riparians waiting for the promised relief. The cornerstone of good government is living up to your word.”

Senator Pam Helming (R, Canandaigua) said, “Many residents who were impacted by flooding last year are still in the process of rebuilding their homes and properties. In anticipation for what could be another devastating year for lakeshore communities, we want to reassure local residents that we are committed to sustaining the state’s relief and recovery efforts by pledging this critical flood aid. I want to thank Senator Flanagan and all my Senate Majority colleagues for their support of this financial assistance. It is my hope that the Governor will continue to support aid to these communities and ensure that it is delivered as quickly as possible.”
 
Senator Robert Ortt (R-C-I, North Tonawanda) said, “These efforts are only the latest demonstration of the priority Senate Republicans place on providing critical relief to Lake Ontario’s flood victims. I am proud to be part of a conference that is committed to helping those families in need along the lake’s shoreline and mitigating the disastrous effects of plan 2014. It is imperative that we learn from this past years’ experience and implement flexible policy should Lake Ontario overflow again this year.”

Senator Patty Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton) said, “People along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario are still struggling following last year’s historic flooding. Alongside my colleagues, I have been working to see that every person in need of assistance receives it. This pledge is yet another signal to homeowners, businesses and others affected that we are committed to helping them rebuild, and come back stronger than ever.”

Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport) said, “The Senate Majority has been leading on this issue from the start in order to ensure that our constituents who needed help after last year’s flooding received it.  I thank Senator Flanagan for this additional commitment, and call on Governor Cuomo to live up to the promise he made last year to make the people of Irondequoit whole for their losses. The time to do so is now.”

Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse) said, “The record rains caused flooding and damage to homes in and around Lake Ontario that was unprecedented and the need is great. When there is an emergency, state government has an obligation to provide relief for its residents. Today, the Senate is stepping up once again to provide an additional $5 million and calling on the Governor to take action to ensure the state lives up to its commitment to each and every resident who was affected.”

Recognizing the need that exists, it is the Senate’s hope that its partners in government will each follow suit with additional funds.

Because of record floods, the Senate took action last year in shepherding the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence Flood Relief and Recovery Grant Program into law to promote economic recovery in the affected regions by providing a total of $45 million in relief for small businesses, farms, owners of multiple dwellings, owners of residences, not-for-profit corporations, and municipalities. Under this program, an additional $10 million was provided to Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties for damages sustained from severe storms and flood levels. Other allocations in last year’s legislation included:

· $15 million for homeowners, including up to $50,000 for all primary homeowners, as well as non-primary homeowners with income up to $275,000;
· $15 million for small businesses, farms, homeowner associations, and not-for-profits, including up to $50,000 for entities listed above, and up to $20,000 for owners of multiple dwellings; and
· $15 million for counties, cities, towns, villages, and special districts, including up to $1 million for repairs and restoration of municipal infrastructure and systems, and up to $500,000 for flood mitigation, construction of resiliency measures, or flood