Silver Creek board sends letter searching for FEMA funds

SILVER CREEK – Many things have happened in the village of Silver Creek since the flood in August 2009. But one thing has not – receipt of FEMA funding.

The village municipal hall as well as the department of public works facility were both damaged by the flooding.

After a long drawn out process with several ill-informed decisions, the village was asked to reapply for its funding for its DPW now located outside the village in an existing structure.

Trustee and soon-to-be mayor Nick Piccolo reported to the village board Wednesday he had sent letters to Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kristin Gillibrand, Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Catharine Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell asking for their assistance on the village’s behalf to get the FEMA funding for the village.

“I am writing to you to request your assistance with securing FEMA funding that is owed to the village following a devastating flood that ravaged our community in the summer of 2009. Immediately following the flood, village officials applied for financial assistance from FEMA but for three years we have been awaiting the arrival of these much needed funds with no success. Per their request we have reapplied for the funding and to date the only response we have received from them is that our request is still under review. As a small village the lack of funding has been nearly as devastating as the flood.

“We have depleted all of our contingency funds and have incurred significant debt during the past three years that we are struggling to pay off. In addition, in order to ensure compliance with DEC regulations the village must now undertake a $5 million project to update our wastewater plant. Securing the FEMA funding that is owed to us as quickly as possible will assist us with paying down our debt, restore money to our contingency fund and most importantly relieve the already heavy tax burden on the residents of Silver Creek.

“Over the years you have earned a wonderful reputation as a staunch advocate for the residents of the state of New York. Your efforts and success on behalf of the village of Gowanda in securing FEMA funding following their natural disaster gives us hope that you will be willing and able to initiate the same advocacy efforts on behalf of the residents of the village of Silver Creek with equal success,” Piccolo read from the letter to Schumer.

Piccolo said he had heard back from Schumer and referred him to speak with Treasurer Janet St. George for budget figures.

“He said it took a whole year to pull teeth to get the money for Gowanda but he said he will do whatever he can do to help us,”

Piccolo said he hopes by getting state and federal officials involved the village will have more success in getting its funding.

“It may be a big enough push that can help us out here to get the funding we need,” he added.

The next meeting of the village board will be held March 4 at 7 p.m.