ALBANY, N.Y. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that the first $1 million in federal disaster aid, authorized by President George W. Bush in the wake of a series of record lake-effect snow storms, has been approved for local governments and non-profits organizations in Cayuga, Oneida, Oswego and Lewis counties.
“The lake-effect snowfall that struck the region in late January was a severe event, but New Yorkers came together and weathered the storm,” said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for FEMA’s disaster recovery effort. “Although the snow has melted, these funds will help communities deal with the piles of bills that remain.”
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., state coordinating officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said, “Once again we are showing the benefits that the state/federal partnership can deliver to ease this storm’s burdens on local governments, and more importantly, local taxpayers.”
The federal funding announced today includes:
- A total of $241,125 to applicants in Cayuga County including $71,813 for the County of Cayuga and $27,434 for the City of Auburn;
- A total of $138,712 to applicants in Lewis County including $24,440 for the County of Lewis and $20,537 for the Town of Croghan;
- A total of $455,130 to applicants in Oneida County including $52,065 to the Town of New Hartford, $36,115 to the Town of Paris and $35,230 to the Town of Vernon;
- A total of $201,898 to applicants in Oswego County including $22,945 for the Town of Scriba and $12,946 for the Town of Oswego.
Under the President’s emergency declaration, issued at the request of Governor George E. Pataki, the federal government is reimbursing applicants for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts and personnel overtime incurred while responding to the storm. The State of New York reimburses applicants for an additional 12.5 percent of the costs and the applicant is responsible for the remaining 12.5 percent.
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.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.