August 15, 2009


FEMA crews assess storm damage

Heavy rains cause $350,000 in damages to county roads, culverts


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
A car passes by a construction barrel at a washed-out area at the intersection of Stramba and East Freetown-Texas Valley roads in Freetown. Rain on Sunday and Monday caused many wash-outs around the county.


Staff Reporter

Thunderstorms Sunday and Monday nights caused $325,000 in damage to roads, bridges and culverts in Cortland County, which is awaiting word on possible federal aid, county Assistant Fire Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda DeRusso said Friday.
A crew from the Federal Emergency Management Agency inspected the damage Friday.
It was part of a statewide review to determine if enough counties in New York state sustained a level of damage great enough to qualify for consideration of a presidential declaration of an emergency.
The declaration is a prerequisite to receiving federal disaster aid.
Also Friday, Gov. David Paterson asked FEMA to approve disaster aid for 10 counties, including Cortland and Chanango.
Statewide, the level of damage for consideration is $26 million, said county Fire Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Duell. The final determination is expected next week.
Each county has damage thresholds it must meet to qualify, and Cortland has more than met its threshold level of approximately $159,000.
Threshold levels are based on population, and the population of an area is multiplied by a dollar amount assigned by FEMA.
The declaration would enable the damaged counties to receive 75 percent federal reimbursement for the costs of repairs. The county would also receive 12.5 percent of the cost of repairs from the state and the local share would be 12.5 percent.
County Highway Superintendent Don Chambers said at Tuesday’s county Highway Committee meeting that county roads alone incurred more than $100,000 in damage.
Without federal aid, Chambers said he would have to transfer funds from other accounts within the Highway Department to meet this expense. The Legislature would have to approve this.
“I have nothing slated for flood repairs. It would have to be transferred from other projects and we may have to curtail some ... other projects,” Chambers said Friday.
Chambers said county road crews are working to repair damage to roads in Solon, Cincinnatus, Willet, Taylor and Truxton. He expects the repair work will take three to four weeks.
Among the damaged roads are McGraw-Marathon Road in Solon, German Road in Willet, Lower Cincinnatus-Willet Road between Cincinnatus and Willet, East Homer-Baltimore Road in Homer, Truxton-Tully Road in Truxton, Cheningo Road in Truxton, Taylor Valley Road in Taylor, and Telephone Road in Cincinnatus.
The majority of the damage was to the shoulders of the roads, Chambers said.
Debris clogged culverts and water overflowed, washing out the roads’ shoulders, he said. Crews will repair shoulder damage where needed and replace culverts if necessary.
Chambers believes the county will get federal aid if enough counties incurred significant damage.
“It is an accumulation of some other counties and Western New York sustained damage with this,” Chambers said.


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