Cuomo announces $16 million in state assistance for flood victims

Flooding in Clinton on June 28

Governor Andrew Cuomo told residents who have been affected by the devastating floods that help is on the way. New York State will provide assistance to flood victims that the governor says the federal government should have covered.

Speaking from a press conference at Cuomo Herkimer County Community College on Wednesday morning, the governor says $16 million in state aid will come from the newly created Mohawk Valley and 2013 Upstate Flood Recovery Program. The program was created though an executive order from the governor.

Five counties will receive funding. Cuomo says Herkimer County will receive about $4 million in state funding to recover from flood damage. Madison County will receive about $3 million in state assistance and Oneida County will also receive about $3 million. Montgomery County will receive about $4 million in state assistance and Niagara County will receive about $2 million.

Cuomo says the state estimates that more than 500 homes were damaged in the flooding. Itâ??s estimated that 100 businesses were also damaged.

Under the program, homeowners may be eligible for up to $31,900 in assistance each. In cases where homes were destroyed, homeowners may be eligible for a buyout for the damaged property. Cuomo says the value assessed of the home would be the value before the floods hit.

Click here for additional information on the NYS Flood Recovery Program and application materials.

The state funding comes after FEMA denied federal aid to individual homeowners and residents affected by the floods. Cuomo says he is disappointed that FEMA will not be helping homeowners. He says the state will provide the assistance that FEMA is not.

Some residents in the area say it will be a tough decision to make between repairing their home or walking away. Dozens of homes were destroyed or condemned due to flood damage but Joe Penree isn't sure what will happen to his Mohawk house. Penree has been able to get back in but the repairs may cost more than the home is worth. Penree says having the state buy him out and knock down the house might be the best option

"It's a problem. Why spend all this money if it's possible to have it happen again?" asked Penree.

President Obama issued a major federal disaster declaration for 12 of the 15 counties that were affected by flooding; however, the money can only be used on infrastructure, or for the repair or replacement of official facilities. There was no money allocated for the people who are suffering.

Cuomo has said that if the Federal Government does not come through, the state wound.

On Tuesday, Cuomo said he and legislators are ready to devote about $10 million to hundreds of flooding victims in the Mohawk Valley. Cuomo says legislative leaders support the spending from the state's $135 billion budget.

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