New York Gov. George Pataki announced that President Bush has approved New York State’s request and declared 13 counties eligible for federal disaster assistance as a result of the widespread damages incurred during the series of storms that began in mid-May and continued into June.
“These severe storms that began in May and continued into June created personal hardships for thousands of New Yorkers and had a devastating impact on municipal budgets,” the Governor said. “While New York State continues to do all that is possible to help our friends and neighbors on the road to recovery, this federal assistance is welcomed news for communities and taxpayers in affected areas across the State.
“I would like to thank President Bush and FEMA Director Michael D. Brown for once again coming to the aid of New Yorkers in their time of need,” the Governor said.
Additionally, the State and affected local governments in the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Erie, Herkimer, Ontario, Saratoga, Schoharie, Steuben, Ulster, Washington and Yates have been declared eligible to receive 75 percent reimbursement for the costs of debris removal, emergency protective measures taken during the storms, and for the restoration of public facilities.
Municipalities will be notified in the near future about a series of applicant briefings at which time eligibility criteria and the application process for public assistance reimbursement will be explained.
The series of storms, which began May 13, 2004 and continued through June, caused mudslides that closed major roadways and damage to roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure that seriously impacted the ability of local governments to provide emergency services because of road closures and detours.
In response to the storms, the Governor directed the implementation of the State Emergency Operations Plan and directed State agencies to take necessary actions in restoring vital public services and transportation systems. State agencies, such as the State Police, Department of Transportation, State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and Public Service Commission, have worked throughout the period in responding to the storms and assisting local governments and citizens.
Gov. Pataki has designated James Tuffey, director of SEMO, as the State Coordinating Officer. In that capacity, Tuffey will coordinate the delivery of disaster assistance programs with federal agencies.
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