Governor’s flood money on fast track
By Patsy Nicosia
Efforts to decide which projects will make the best use of the $12 million Governor Cuomo has pledged for flood recovery and reconstruction are on the fast track.
The really fast track.
That’s according to Georgia Van Dyke, who with Sarah Goodrich, is co-chairing Schoharie County’s NY Rising Planning Committee, 14 volunteers charged with deciding which projects in the Village and Town of Esperance, the Village of Schoharie, and the Village of Middleburgh, best meet the state’s guidelines for up to $3 million each.
Governor Cuomo unveiled the awards in a surprise visit to SUNY Cobleskill last Tuesday; Ms. Van Dyke said she and Ms. Goodrich only learned they’d be chairing it mid-August and before Thursday, they’d only met once.
“They’re not wasting any time,” Ms. Van Dyke said. “We’re definitely flying by the seat of our pants.”
The committee met Thursday to begin brainstorming and is planning a September 26 public input meeting-they’re still working on where and when-to hear from the community.
Selected projects and tentative budgets need to be in the Governor’s office by October 28 for the first round of review, Ms. Van Dyke said; they’ll be presented to the public for the first time on October 24.
Final projects with final figures will need to be done by mid-April.
Just which municipalities are eligible for the NY Rising grants has been a source of confusion, but Ms. Van Dyke said they’ve gotten the state to agree to consider local projects in terms of how they fit into the Schoharie Creek watershed and not just town borders.
“That was one of my biggest concerns,” she said. “Look at Blenheim. They weren’t included on the Governor’s list, but they were certainly impacted…SALT [Schoharie Area Longterm; both Ms. Van Dyke and Ms. Goodrich are directors] was formed with exactly that in mind: We’re all part of the same river basin. We’re all impacted.”
Emergency services and access, stream and tributary mitigation, and education and communication are some of the areas the committee believes need a closer look.
The committee doesn’t include local government officials, but Ms. Van Dyke said they’ll have a chance to comment at the meeting on the 26th.
In addition to Ms. Van Dyke and Ms. Goodrich, members of the Schoharie County NY Rising Planning Committee are: Judy McClaughlin, Schoharie County Child Development Council; Gail Browning, retired, SUNY Cobleskill Community Outreach; Carol Coltrain, lay minister and volunteer from Middleburgh; and Anne Schwed, SALT volunteer from Middleburgh.
Also: Richard Ball, Schoharie Valley Farms and a member of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council; Darlene Patterson, president of the Schoharie Promotional Association; and Gail Breen, executive director, Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie Counties Workforce Development.
Also: Imants Schrederis, manager of the Schoharie Stewart’s and a Schoharie resident; Shane Nickle, senior planner, Schoharie County Planning; Jason Becker, vice president MidTel; Pete Nichols, stream corridor manager, Schoharie County Soil and Water; and Lillian Bruno, county planner and Middleburgh resident.