Cuomo seeks federal funds following May floods

New York State is asking the federal government for financial help to clean up following the May floods that rocked parts of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wrote to President Obama to request a federal major disaster declaration for Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Herkimer, Lewis, Livingston, Ontario, Otsego, Steuben and Yates counties after recent severe storms and flooding caused serious damage and destruction in communities in central and western New York.

Locally, Gowanda and Silver Creek were hit the hardest.

The storms and flooding, which began on May 12, affected a large portion of New York State, particularly these 11 counties where heavy rains fell in some areas at rates of 5 to 7 inches in less than three hours. Over 6,500 homes and business were without power and over 130 families sustained significant property damage.

Roof collapses occurred on homes and businesses with numerous evacuations occurring.

“I am requesting that President Obama issue a Major Disaster Declaration to help both state and local governments recover from the serious damage inflicted by the flooding and storms to hit communities in central and western New York,” Cuomo said in a news release. “This declaration will bring much needed federal financial assistance to localities that have endured serious hardship and damage, and help provide for vital repairs following some of the worst flooding these communities have experienced in decades.”

Cuomo declared a State Disaster Emergency within impacted areas of New York State on May 14 and local States of Emergency were declared in Yates County, Cattaraugus County, the Village of Penn Yan, the Village of Gowanda, the Town of Jerusalem and the Town of Sanford.

As a result of the damage caused by these storms, Cuomo requested technical assistance in the form of a joint State/FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment, which was completed on June 11. Results of this PDA validated State and County expenditures of more than $28 million in response and recovery efforts.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms.

Late last week, Rep. Tom Reed urged Cuomo to send a letter to Obama to seek federal assistance. Reed’s staff has been meeting with FEMA all around the district surveying the damage and helping all affected counties through the process of documenting damages.