LOCKPORT – Although federal officials said no to helping Lockport homeowners and businesses damaged in the June 28 flash flood, the state said yes Wednesday.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Niagara County will receive $2 million in reimbursement for flood damage, part of $16 million statewide. All the remaining money will be divided among four Mohawk Valley counties hard hit by flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected requests for aid to New York homeowners Monday.
“Today the state is stepping up to cover what the federal government did not: nearly $16 million in individual assistance for the people whose homes and property were damaged and destroyed,” Cuomo said.
“Thankfully, Gov. Cuomo has been with us every step of the way, and worked swiftly to organize state aid for the many individuals who are not covered under FEMA’s allocation,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said in a news release. “I applaud the governor’s leadership for our community, and look forward to the rebuilding process.”
Lockport is believed to have had about 600 homes whose basements needed to be pumped out, and several businesses were hurt, including the Widewaters Drive-In.
FEMA did approve about $800,000 in reimbursements for the cost of repairing Lockport municipal property, including several streets that were washed out and damage to wastewater-treatment plant.
The New York State Flood Recovery Program offers grants of up to $31,900 for homeowners and up to $50,000 for small businesses and farms. The state requires documentation of all uninsured losses.
But if documentation is presented, eligible losses include appliances, heating and water systems, wells, septic systems, electrical damage, fuel tanks, drywall, insulation, foundations, floors, doors, windows and siding.
Detailed information is available by calling 1-888-769-7243 or by visiting www.nyshcr.org/Programs/NYS-Flood.
Tucker had advised city residents to file notices of claim against the city to document their losses in case of a FEMA reimbursement. So far, 54 homeowners have done so, along with one Town of Lockport resident whose car was flooded.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said Wednesday that was a bad idea, even though the city’s insurer won’t pay the claims. “Your premium for insurance next year will go through the roof,” he warned the Common Council. “It’s based on claims paid and claims made.”
“Then it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on,” retorted Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward. “It’s got to be on record somewhere.”
Alderman John Lombardi III, R-1st Ward, said some private insurers have told policyholders that they must file a claim against the city to obtain payment under their company’s policy.
Council President Anne E. McCaffrey, R-2nd Ward, said the city has ended its post-flood period of collecting all garbage put at the curb with no regard to bulk trash rules and fees.
“People are still putting stuff out. There’s no more waived period,” she said. “There’s a handful of houses the mayor knows about that should have been picked up and weren’t. Other than those six houses, if they’re putting stuff out today, it won’t be picked up.”