Six-point plant for flood relief
A coalition of four state senators whose Mohawk Valley districts were hit by recent flooding have drafted a plan to help recovery efforts.
The senators, including James Seward, R-Milford, and Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, are reiterating the call for a federal emergency declaration, which would make available Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, and they're also preparing a legislative package to introduce at the state level. Earlier this week, state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, introduced her own flood relief measure for Montgomery County.
The four senators have also drafted a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Barack Obama, with both available below.
"Damage in the Mohawk Valley is extensive and people are seeking reassurances that their needs will be met," said Farley in a statement. "Further, we need to rewrite the state’s natural disaster response playbook."
He added, "This proposal focuses on both the now and later of our response from the funding and legislative standpoints.”
The new plan includes six key points, which Seward said will help prepare for future natural disasters and streamline the local response to disasters.
Below are the six points:
1) The centerpiece of their legislation will be a New York state flood and emergency relief fund –“Funding Emergency Relief Now” (FERN) to assist New York property owners when FEMA or other funding is denied by the federal government;
2) A refundable state income tax credit against property taxes paid where homes and businesses have suffered damage that reduce their value (S. 6060A – 2012);
3) A state task force on flood prevention and mitigation with regional subcommittees to help communities plan and fund flood prevention measures on a regional basis. The task force would include representatives of the legislature, the state departments of Health, Environmental Conservation, Transportation, State, Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the National Guard, first responders, local government officials and local soil and water conservation districts with benchmarks and deadlines for action;
4) Enhanced funding through the environmental protection fund (EPF) for soil and water conservation districts to help local governments plan improved storm water drainage and flood prevention efforts;
5) National Guard directed and supported construction assistance in communities where flood mitigation measures have been identified;
6) Requiring a simplified and expedited reimbursement process for the state share of any reimbursable flood-related costs by local governments. Failure to process reimbursements to a local government within 60 days would trigger bonus payments to local governments to cover their cost of borrowing to cover funding shortfalls.
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