FEMA: Silver Creek received all funds applied for

SILVER CREEK – The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants residents to know that it has reimbursed Silver Creek for all funds applied for following the 2009 flood. The village has yet to apply for the final payment on the Department of Public Works building.

Silver Creek purchased the former Bentges Distribution building on Routes 5 and 20 following the 2009 flood. While all the work has been completed according to Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo, the village is in the process of submitting paperwork for the final payment for the DPW project. According to Donald Caetano, FEMA external affairs officer, the amount left for payment is minimal compared to the overall project cost.

“It’s unfortunate that (the OBSERVER) mentioned FEMA in a recent article without affording us an opportunity to provide context. After speaking with our New York state partners, I can tell you that Silver Creek has received payment for all funds requested on this project. They are in process of completing the rest of the work and have not submitted any request for an additional progress payment, nor have they submitted the documentation stating work is complete requesting final payment,” Caetano said in an e-mail. The e-mail was sent out in response to the article “Silver Creek awaiting FEMA monies from ’09” which was published Aug. 11. In the article village officials complained about not getting fully re-imbursed from FEMA.

In an interview with Piccolo Friday, he said FEMA required the village to make repairs to the building. Among those repairs and improvements included the installation of a grinder pit to lift wastewater out into the town of Hanover’s sewer line; repairs to the roof; entranceway door replacement; installation of a security system and security fencing; installation of new heaters; installation of an exhaust system; paving the parking lot; changing the entry and exit ways to Routes 5 and 20; and installation of an emergency generator.

“We have completed that now and we’re putting numbers together so that we can submit our final numbers and hopefully receive our final payment that is due the village,” said Piccolo. “Simmons (Recovery Consulting) is in the process of putting the final P-4 altogether for submittal.”

The village of Silver Creek has hired Simmons Recovery Consulting to help with the paperwork following the 2009 flood. There is not a final projected estimated cost as of yet, Piccolo said. Wendel Engineering is currently working with Simmons Recovery to pass along information and bills so the paperwork can be submitted to FEMA. Piccolo said he and the village are “grateful” to have received a FEMA payment in January. Simmons, Piccolo said, is very thorough in their jobs.

“They know what to research and they know what they’re looking for. It saves a lot of time, effort and hours. It’s like anybody trying to write a grant. If you’ve never written a grant, you don’t know what grant (writing) takes,” Piccolo said.

Piccolo also wanted to publicly thank Rob Davidson from Sen. Charles Schumer’s office for first making contact with the village following the 2009 flood. Piccolo also said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Tom Reed, Sen. Cathy Young and other elected officials have reached out to the village in the past five years.

“Everyone has been very cooperative going forward, including FEMA, (State Office of Emergency Management) and all our public officials. They have done a great job in helping us with getting a final payment for the damage that was incurred and the changes that had to be made within the village,” Piccolo said.

As Silver Creek is working through the final stages of the paperwork, FEMA is willing to work with the village – or any other applicant – with any problem that may arise.

“We will continue to work with Silver Creek or any one of our other applicants that are receiving our funds. If they have questions or concerns we’re more than happy to talk to them and work through those concerns,” Caetano said.

Comments on this article may be sent to smcdonnell@observertoday.com