WXXI AM News

Local officials still trying for disaster declaration to recoup costs of flood damage

Nov 15, 2017

Credit Beth Adams/WXXI News

Monroe County's eligibility for federal assistance for flood damage is under review, according to a FEMA spokesman.

When President Trump issued a major disaster declaration for six New York counties Tuesday, Monroe was not among them, even though local communities along the shore of Lake Ontario were among the hardest hit by flooding this spring and summer.

In Irondequoit, town supervisor Dave Seeley says repairs are still ongoing, a compromised sewer lateral was recently moved costing around $350,000 with overtime expenses. He said those costs hit the town hardest.

"We were running a sandbagging operation for a few weeks like 24/7. Thankfully sand isn't that expensive but the time, the use of the machinery, those sort of things, it added up."

Greece town supervisor Bill Reilich said his town initially estimated municipal damages totaling $576,000.

"What that did not include, because we didn't know it at that time, was the estimated damage to the roads and the sewer system. Some parts of Edgemere Drive were underwater for months and until that dried out, we couldn't assess that."

Reilich suspects that when those costs are calculated and surrounding towns and villages submit their final figures, Monroe County will meet the threshold for a federal disaster declaration.

If that happens, Reilich said homeowners can get additional relief by enlisting the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"What they did in 1973 is they brought in barges with large boulders and placed them along the shoreline in front of homes where people requested that assistance. Even this year, homes that had them fared better than homes without the boulders."

Reilich said the governor's office told him they were aggressively pursuing the disaster declaration. FEMA is also reviewing the application from Cayuga County.