Gov promises $12 million for flood rebuilding
By Patsy Nicosia
September 11, 2013
Governor Andrew Cuomo came to SUNY Cobleskill Tuesday to announce some $12 million in Irene and Lee recovery funding for Schoharie County.
Through the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, the Towns of Middleburgh, Schoharie, and Esperance and the Village of Esperance, can apply for up to $3 million each for approved rebuilding projects.
Though the projects will be subject to federal and state review, Governor Cuomo said he believes it’s local people who best know what they need.
“You really don’t know [what’s needed] unless you’re sitting in that chair,” he said.
“We have the funding…you come up with a smart plan, we’ll give you the funding…”
The projects, however, will have to be certified by the state and the $12 million isn’t a blank check; Governor Cuomo said the state is putting a heavy emphasis on work that will prevent a repeat of the kind of devastation that Irene and Lee brought.
“Because it will happen again,” he said, “I’ve been Governor for less than three years and I’ve already seen three once-in-a-lifetime storms. Plan for future storms. Plan for the worst.”
Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil Skowfoe welcomed the $12 million.
“It means a lot as long as there aren’t so many strings attached that they can’t access the money,” he said.
“It depends on the strings. But at least they have a shot at the money.”
Schoharie Mayor John Borst and Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon were among those who praised Governor Cuomo and the state for their response to the 2011 storms.
“I commend Governor Cuomo for taking steps to get steps to get us back on our feet,” said Mayor Borst. “But it’s extremely clear there’s a long way to go.”
Mr. Buzon spoke to the fact that the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Fund empowers local communities and called for a unified approach “to rebuild for the next generation-not just three or four years down the road.”
Governor Cuomo said the state was able to leverage the damage from last fall’s Hurricane Sandy to get more federal money for everyone.
“Hurricane Sandy did such damage that we had to go to Washington,” he said, where “we also asked if that money could be used for Irene and Lee.
“Most of the rebuilding is done,” he added. “Now we need to look at how we can learn from this to prevent it from happening again.”