ALBANY, N.Y. -- Lewis County has been added to the list of New York State counties eligible to apply for state and federal disaster assistance to help pay for emergency measures taken during heavy snowstorms in the first two weeks of January, according to federal and state emergency management officials.
Marianne C. Jackson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made the designations today after a review of additional data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other sources regarding "record" or "near record" snowfall in Lewis County.
The addition of Lewis County brings to nine the number of New York State counties eligible for assistance under the emergency declaration signed by President Clinton Jan. 15 at the request of Gov. George E. Pataki. Other eligible counties are Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.
Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to governmental entities in the designated counties for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts and personnel overtime related to emergency services for a 48-hour period. That time is considered crucial for work crews to clear snow from emergency routes and roads leading to critical facilities to permit the passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire department response may also be eligible for reimbursement. Volunteer organizations meeting FEMA's eligibility criteria may also be reimbursed for some of the costs of providing emergency protective measures.
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., Director of the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) , said that state and federal representatives will conduct a briefing for local officials in Lewis County to explain what costs are eligible, how to report equipment/personnel information, payment procedures, and answer any questions that local officials may have concerning the assistance program.