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State will spend $16 million on Mohawk Valley flooding victims

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged $16 million of state money today to help Mohawk Valley flooding victims who won't be receiving individual assistance from the federal government.

"The state is going to fund what the federal government should have funded," Cuomo said in an announcement in Herkimer.

The $16 million includes $4 million for Montgomery County. "It's a lot of money, but it's your neighbors saying we're here to help you," he said.

The relief package also allows flooding victims to accept 100 percent of a buyout if they want to move from their destroyed home. Approximately 500 people had damage done by the flooding to their homes, including complete destruction, estimated the governor.

Cuomo said he spoke with the legislative leaders about funding this proposal and they are supportive of this endeavor. It's not clear where the money will come from, as the governor said on Tuesday that he was first looking to offer relief through his discretionary authority in the budget and if that didn't work he would turn to the state Legislature for action.

"I said from day one ... we, your neighbors, are going to be here," Cuomo said in his news conference.

Also in attendance was Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, who thanked the governor for his attention on this issue.

Seward added that the Mohawk Valley was basically hit by three weeks of continuous flooding. Based on this, he said the state needs to be better prepared for natural disasters and needs to be focused on preventing these disasters.

New Yorkers have come to expect swift and decisive action and this is what the governor has delivered, said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.

On Thursday the governor will host a storm conference in Albany.

UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, released a statement in response to the announcement, saying, "“I am pleased to join Gov. Cuomo and my legislative colleagues in pledging $16 million worth of flood aid that will go toward assisting homeowners, small businesses and family farms to rebuild, especially here in Herkimer and Oneida counties."

"We must move quickly to help our neighbors during this very difficult time. I am happy that our region is getting the attention and services it needs," he added. “Hand-in-hand our community will pick up the pieces, rebuild and be stronger because of it.”

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter for more flooding news updates.

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