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The Times
  • Piecing together flood funding puzzle perplexing

  • When you try to wade through the options for flood mitigation funding, it gets a bit puzzling. As different programs and grants become available through state and federal funding, Mohawk Valley communities must figure out who can apply, what the deadlines are and what the criteria for applying is.

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  • When you try to wade through the options for flood mitigation funding, it gets a bit puzzling.
    As different programs and grants become available through state and federal funding, Mohawk Valley communities must figure out who can apply, what the deadlines are and what the criteria for applying is.
    The different options were among the topics discussed during a Monday meeting with local and state Department of Environmental Conservation officials after this summer’s damaging floods.
    “We really need to understand a little bit more who is eligible and who can do the work, what the time period is and what the restrictions are,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
    Officials said the state has responded very quickly to the issue and offered more grant money than previously seen to prevent future flooding.
    For example, the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program has allotted $3 million each to Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Montgomery counties.
    “It’s good to see that the state officials are putting a lot of money into this to try and alleviate these problems,” Whitestown Town Supervisor Chuck Gibbs said.
    But John Kent, commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Planning, said the multiple programs with multiple funding sources have made it confusing. Plus, he added, the guidelines for the programs still are being developed.
    “The difficulty that that creates is that it’s all evolving,” he said.
    The reconstruction program, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, encourages communities to form a committee of local officials and experts who will submit a long-term plan for flood mitigation. The planning process is expected to take about eight months.
    |The grant amounts will be based on Federal Emergency Management Agency assessed damage levels as well as applications for new infrastructure and other mitigation, and will be awarded once the community’s plan is complete and submitted to the state.
    While it’s unclear whether what is required is a countywide plan or something different, communities need to work together when it comes to watershed management, officials said.
    Gibbs is part of the Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission, which has allowed multiple communities situated along the waterway to work together when it comes to projects and maintenance.
    “Even though we could do something in Whitestown, if (other communities don’t) do their part, it would be all for naught,” he said.
    Plus, Gibbs said the chances of getting grants are better with more communities involved.
    “Municipalities are starting to recognize … you can’t solve problems on an individual basis,” Kent said. “That’s why we’ve certainly been encouraging other communities to do what communities in the Sauquoit (commission)” have done.
    Page 2 of 2 - FLOOD FUNDING
    Some available funding options for local communities:
    New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program
    • The following counties received $3 million each for storm reconstruction once they have submitted a long-term mitigation plan: Herkimer, Oneida, Madison, Montgomery and Niagara.
    • The grant amounts will be based on Federal Emergency Management Agency assessed damage levels as well as applications for new infrastructure and other mitigation.
    • It’s being implemented by the state Department of State.
    • There’s seems to be no specific deadline, but the planning process is expected to take about eight months.
    Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
    • Available to communities and certain private nonprofits to develop and update hazard mitigation plans and projects.
    • Preference will be given to proposals that provide green, natural or innovative technological solutions to long-term threats and/or implement permanent back-up power systems, among others.
    • The deadline is Thursday.
    Community Development Block Grants
    • Local officials were uncertain how this will be implemented.
    • For information, visit www.NYSandyHelp.ny.gov, or call 855-NYS-SANDY.
    Source: www.nysandyhelp.ny.gov/
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