FEMA disaster funding approved for spring flooding in New York
Washington, D.C. (WHAM/AP) - Federal disaster funding has been approved for six counties in New York affected by flooding earlier this spring. Monroe County is not among them - yet.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump declared a "major disaster" in New York for several areas affected by flooding from May 2 through August 6.
Those areas are Jefferson, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne Counties. Funding will be made available to the state, as well as local and trival governments in affected areas for emergency, repair and replacement work.
When asked why a county could be left off of a federal disaster declaration, FEMA Region II External Affairs Director Donald Caetano said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
"The six counties met the criteria for a major disaster declaration as designated by the President," Caetano said.
After learning about Monroe and Cayuga counties being left off the list, Governor Cuomo's Office called the list "a good first step," but added that there is more work to be done.
"We will not stop fighting until this declaration is expanded to ensure that Monroe and Cayuga counties receive the assistance they need and deserve,” said Colin Brennan, a spokesperson for Governor Cuomo's office.
"We have been informed by representatives for the White House, Senator Schumer, and Congressman Collins that Monroe County’s eligibility for FEMA assistance is under review," Monroe County Director of Communications Jesse Sleezer said. "We appreciate the continued support pledged by the Senator, the Congressman, and others in our federal Delegation to deliver a disaster relief declaration that would provide fair funding for impacted property in Monroe County."
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement following the announcement, saying he will keep advocating for Monroe and Cayuga counties to be added to the declaration.
“I am pleased FEMA heeded our calls by agreeing to help affected communities; rest assured I will keep pushing to get the same designation and support for Monroe and Cayuga so that all counties affected by Lake Ontario’s high waters get the funding they need and deserve to get back on their feet,” Schumer said in a statement.
The state has committed $45 million in assistance to property owners.
Lake Ontario rose 30 inches from April through May, reaching a record high level. Wind-driven waves pounded the shoreline, causing widespread damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses.