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July 13, 2013

Feds approve flood aid

Cortland among counties to receive funds for public expenses

RacingJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland County Highway Department crews clean out ditches on Thursday affected by flooding on South Cortland-Virgil Road in Cortlandville. More than $250,000 in damages occurred to public infrastructure during July 1 flooding.

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

The governor announced Friday night that the federal government has approved aid to help municipalities in a dozen counties, including Cortland, respond to July 1 heavy flooding.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s request to President Barack Obama for federal Public Assistance aid was approved for Cortland, Allegany, Chenango, Delaware, Franklin, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Otsego and Warren counties.
Additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by further damage assessments.
Public Assistance is for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.
Brenda DeRusso, Cortland County’s assistant fire and emergency management coordinator, was dealing with calls from frustrated residents and town officials Friday as the county waited for a presidential declaration of an emergency.
With the total countywide damage standing at approximately $248,000, DeRusso said frustrations were mounting as municipalities and counties statewide awaited a decision about a presidential declaration of an emergency, which is needed for federal assistance.
DeRusso expects the actual damage in Cortland County would be more than $248,000, since 11 municipalities reported damages yet the damage assessment was based on seven site visits in only four municipalities.
These were sites in McGraw, Solon, Cuyler and Taylor.
With the declaration, the cost of repairing public infrastructure damage will be covered with 75 percent Federal Emergency Management Agency funds and 12.5 percent state funds and only 12.5 percent will be borne by local municipalities.
DeRusso was unsure if the county would qualify for individual assistance, which she said requires that 25 or more businesses or residences have at least 40 percent uninsured loss. The figure has to be a primary home or business, she said, not things like soil erosion or damage to a shed or barn.

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