Monroe County leaders fight for flood relief

November 14, 2017 11:39 PM

Monroe County leaders are calling for action after the county was left out of a federal disaster declaration that could bring aid to areas damaged by flooding.

On Tuesday, President Trump declared major disasters in six New York counties hit by last spring's high lake levels. Monroe and Cayuga Counties did not make that list.

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The declarations could mean millions in aid for local governments struggling with the cost of the flooding. 

Several Congressional offices told News10NBC that nobody's actually been turned down, but that some applications for federal disaster aid are still under review. 

Gary Hawes of Greece is still hoping to get work complete on his damaged break wall. News10NBC spoke with him about Tuesday's federal relief announcement.

"I can't believe we're not on the list," Hawes said. "There's been a lot of damage all along here." 

The federal government named Niagara, Orleans, Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in a major disaster declaration.  

State Assembly Leader Joseph Morelle declared he's "surprised and disappointed" to see Monroe and Cayuga Counties off the list.

"I'm hopeful that they'll get this straightened out," said Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich. 

Reilich has been prominently seeking help. He said the disaster declaration would have gotten flood damaged communities crucial help from the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare against future flooding.  

"Right now, we are spending time trying to get beyond this delay instead of spending time trying to continue our work to try and mitigate this," Reilich said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer vowed to continue to fight, with Schumer saying, "We will keep up the pressure."  

"Until we overcome this hurdle, we are not able to go beyond where we're at," Reilich said.

FEMA tells News10NBC that Monroe County hasn't met the criteria for a "major disaster declaration" yet, but the agency and New York State are continuing its review and more counties could be added to the list.


Charles Molineaux

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