ALBANY, N.Y. -- State and federal officials today announced that a series of briefings will be held next week, March 15-17, to educate government entities and non-profit organizations about the process of applying for federal reimbursement for costs incurred while responding to the record lake effect snowfall that blanketed central New York in late January.
Federal disaster aid was authorized under an emergency declaration issued March 3 by President George W. Bush, in response to a request by Governor George E. Pataki. State and local government entities and certain non-profit organizations in Cayuga, Oneida, Oswego and Lewis counties are now eligible to apply to be reimbursed for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts and personnel overtime incurred in the wake of the storm.
“These briefings can be enormously helpful to the local governments and non-profit groups that aided in the response to this emergency and may now be eligible to apply for disaster aid,” said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster recovery effort.
“We want to make sure that each and every entity entitled to federal disaster aid – from towns and villages to local fire departments, schools and hospitals understands the reimbursement process and the resources available to help them recover their costs on behalf of their communities,” Jackson said.
Jackson stressed that many private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for disaster aid. The following types of non-profits are generally eligible for assistance: educational, utilities, irrigation, emergency such as local fire departments, medical, custodial care facilities, and other facilities that provide essential government services such as community centers, libraries, senior citizens centers, museums, and health and safety services of a governmental nature.
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., state coordinating officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said, “Efforts to respond and recover from the record snowfall experienced during these storms placed an enormous financial burden on communities in the declared counties. It is critical that local governments and non-profit organizations attend these to take the first step on the road to recovery.”
The lake-effect storms began January 28 and lasted through January 31, with snow falling at rates of up to six inches per hour. Despite the efforts of county and local highway departments, roads became impassable and were closed, states of emergency were declared, and schools and businesses closed. State Police and New York State Department of Transportation personnel were in continuous contact to coordinate the clearance of areas of Interstate Route 81, including on and off-ramps, which at times were buried under more than two feet of snow.
The briefings will be held according to the following schedule:
Lewis County – Monday, March 15, 2004 at 1 p.m. at the Lowville Fire Department on Route 12, in Lowvlle. Directions: Take New York State Thruway, I-90, to Exit 30 (Route 12 North); follow Route 12 north into Lowville; after entering the village continue straight through three traffic lights; the Fire Department will be on the left.
Oswego County – Tuesday, March 16, 2004 at 9 a.m. at the Oswego County Joint News Center on County Route 176, in Fulton. Directions: Take New York State Thruway, I-90, to Exit 34A, Route 481 North. travel on Route 481 to Fulton; at the 3rd traffic light make a right turn onto Broadway (Route 3); travel approximately eight blocks and turn left onto 7th Street (Route 176); travel on Route 176 for about 3-4 miles; the Joint News Center is on the right hand side.
Cayuga COUNTY – Tuesday, March 16, 2004 a...