New flood recovery funds flow to county
By Geoff Samuels
At last Monday’s Flood Commission meeting, Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller said she had recently attended a meeting in Albany with she had learned that $3 million in Community Development Block Grants is about to be made available to the towns of Middletown and Sidney (on a combined basis) for further flood recovery efforts.
The grant money, she said, will be coming from two New York State entities: The Small Business Storm Recovery Program, and the Recreate NY Smart Home Program. These programs in turn receive their money through HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to Miller, with the combined help of both programs, small businesses as well as residents who received flood damage and were unable to get the kinds of grants that FEMA was offering or that haven’t been able to collect from their insurance companies can now receive financial aid. In many cases, the aid could not originally be obtained due to the fact that their properties had not suffered the required 50 percent or more damage from either Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.
An important large scale Flood Commission meeting has been set for June 17 at 6 p.m. at Margaretville Central School. This special meeting has been organized for the purpose of reaching out to the public with information about flood mitigation activities in the area as well as the new Community Development Block Grants that will become available. Much of the time at last Monday’s meeting was devoted to finding ways to make sure that the public is as informed as possible about these new opportunities.
Commission member Pat Davis suggested that information concerning these grants could be posted in the paper every week for a month leading up to the June 17 meeting. Miller further suggested that she would like to see a committee at that meeting to actually help people through the grant application process.
“If we can really assist our businesses and residents in getting this application in,” said Miller, “that would certainly help move things forward.” Davis added, “This is sort of a wrap-up phase to pick up those properties and people who simply weren’t eligible.”
It was also decided by the commission that a list of properties lying within the hundred year flood plain would be generated and that each of those property owners would receive a mailing concerning the availability of the additional grant money.
More Information can also be found at the Empire State Development website: http://www.esd.ny.gov/StormRecovery.asp. Be sure to click on the “Program Fact Sheet” link at the bottom of the page.