New York Members Send Bipartisan Letter to Governor Urging Swift Action
Brindisi & Stefanik: We believe all necessary steps must be taken to determine if federal assistance may be available to aid in the recovery process
Following the devastating floods in New York, Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik called on Governor Cuomo to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make sure the affected communities have access to the resources they need.
“We write to express our support for the many communities across upstate New York that have been severely impacted by last week’s destructive storms,” Brindisi and Stefanik wrote. “As damage assessment and recovery efforts are ongoing, we believe it is critical for the State of New York to take all necessary steps to ensure full restoration for the families, businesses, and neighborhoods affected by this disaster. We urge the Governor to initiate a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment with FEMA and work with federal officials to thoroughly assess the impact and magnitude of the damage caused by these devastating storms.”
In order to receive money from FEMA, the State of New York must conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment in coordination with FEMA. According to FEMA, in order to meet the threshold for public assistance, the impacted counties and the state must both meet a monetary damage threshold. That threshold varies by county and the state threshold is $29.6 million. Residents that experienced flooding are encouraged to report property damage to their county emergency services offices.
The text of Brindisi and Stefanik’s letter is below:
Dear Governor Cuomo:
We write to express our support for the many communities across upstate New York that have been severely impacted by last week’s destructive storms. As damage assessment and recovery efforts are ongoing, we believe it is critical for the State of New York to take all necessary steps to ensure full restoration for the families, businesses, and neighborhoods affected by this disaster.
On October 31st and November 1st, areas of the 21st and 22nd Congressional Districts sustained heavy damage as a result of flooding and high winds. Our offices have been in contact with various state agencies including the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the Division of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) regarding the level of damage incurred on our communities and the ongoing state assessment for recovery. Several municipalities in both districts sustained damage leading to displaced residents, uninhabitable homes, and yards filled with mud. Tragically, Father John Connery of Glenville also perished during these floods while driving in the Town of Norway.
We have reached out to several local elected officials including the Mayor of Dolgeville, Mary Puznowski. The Mayor has voiced her concern about receiving help for constituents whose homes are now off their foundations and yards have been washed away, as well as erosion issues with the East Canada Creek that lead to ice jams during the winter months. Further, significant flooding has occurred around the Sauquoit Creek in the Town of Whitestown, Village of Whitesboro, Chadwicks, and many other municipalities in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. While our local and County leadership greatly appreciate the State’s role in the Sauquoit Creek Restoration Project, hundreds of residents were dealt yet another significant blow with the wide level devastation.
We understand the state is currently in an assessment phase in order to get a better understanding of what will be needed to fully recover. We greatly appreciate all the time and energy you and your staff have put into the recovery effort. However, due to the extensive damage to homes, properties, and critical infrastructure in many of our communities, we believe further steps must be taken to determine if federal assistance may be available to aid in the recovery process.
As representatives of these communities, we urge your office to initiate a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and work with federal officials to thoroughly assess the impact and magnitude of the damage caused by these devastating storms. Should it prove necessary, the information gathered through the Preliminary Damage Assessment will allow you to make a formal request for federal assistance to support the unmet needs of storm-impacted communities. Since a request for federal disaster assistance must be submitted within 30 days of the incident, we believe it is necessary for a Preliminary Damage Assessment to be initiated without delay.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and for your work to support our communities following this disaster.