WASHINGTON – Nearly four years after devastating floods overwhelmed the Village of Gowanda, the federal government has finally decided to pay its part of the cleanup bill.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now set to deliver $1.3 million in cleanup aid to the village, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday.
Due to delays in finalizing the aid, the village has incurred more than $200,000 in interest costs.
“When I heard that foot-dragging by FEMA was costing the village hundreds of thousands of dollars, I was outraged,” Schumer said. “After sending several letters to [Administrator Craig] Fugate, and speaking with both him and other top FEMA officials, I am thrilled that FEMA has done the right thing.”
The funding will cover six of the remaining flood-recovery projects still remaining in Gowanda, including repairs to the village reservoir and the restoration of stream banks that were washed away in the summer 2009 floods.
The new influx of federal money will prevent the village from having to roll over the $5 million bond anticipation note it took out to fund most of the recovery effort. Rolling over the bond would have cost the village tens of thousands of dollars in additional interest.
“The 2009 floods were a disaster for Gowanda, and we have been working hard ever since to rebuild and move on,” said Gowanda Mayor Heather McKeever. “These outstanding project costs were a weight on the village’s finances, and we are very thankful for all of Sen. Schumer’s efforts to get us the funding we were promised.”