ALBANY, N.Y. -- Federal and state disaster officials today announced that local governments and non-profit organizations in Hamilton County are now eligible to be reimbursed for nearly 90 percent of the costs incurred by localities in the wake of a series of severe storms that hammered the region with heavy rain, hail and high winds in late May and early June.
Hamilton County joins 13 other upstate New York counties designated for federal assistance August 3 under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush at the request of Governor George E. Pataki.
Under the President’s declaration, federal funding is available to pay for 75 percent of approved costs for disaster-related expenses such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing, restoring or replacing damaged public facilities. The State of New York contributes an additional 12.5 percent and the applicant is responsible for the remaining 12.5 percent.
Disaster assistance may also be provided to repair, restore and replace facilities owned by certain private non-profit organizations that operate and maintain educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and other essential governmental service facilities.
James W. Tuffey, state coordinating officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said, “This is great news for the people of Hamilton County who have suffered repetitive damages from these ongoing storms. Under Governor Pataki’s leadership, we are doing everything possible to help put communities on the road to recovery.”
To help local communities and organizations apply for federal disaster assistance, federal and state disaster experts will conduct an applicant briefing in the county, said Ted Monette, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster recovery effort. The time and location of the briefing will be announced in the near future.
“FEMA is committed to delivering disaster aid to Hamilton County as quickly as possible,” Monette said. “To help this happen, local officials should gather their paperwork and attend the upcoming briefing to learn how to maximize the assistance they’re entitled to.”
In addition to Hamilton County, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Erie, Herkimer, Ontario, Saratoga, Schoharie, Steuben, Ulster, Washington and Yates counties have been designated for disaster aid.
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 a national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U. S. Fire Administration.