LOCKPORT – Moving faster than expected, state flood relief teams will be visiting Lockport Sunday through Tuesday to take claims from home and business owners for losses suffered in the June 28 flash flood.
“It’s amazingly fast,” said Mayor Michael W. Tucker, who had said Thursday that it might be eight months before residents saw reimbursements.
Those with flood losses should bring their proof to City Hall from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday or 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
“I don’t think they’re going to write it right then, but they’re anxious to start writing checks,” Tucker said.
Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $2 million flood relief allocation for Niagara County, part of a $16 million pot of money for flood damage around the state resulting from heavy June rains.
Tucker said no appointments are needed, but it’s first-come, first-served, and applicants may have to wait in line.
State staffers from agencies such as the Department of Financial Services and Homes and Community Renewal will be on hand to take applications for reimbursement for losses not covered by private insurance.
“They’re going to want to see receipts,” Tucker said.
Unlike the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which rejected any aid to Lockport except for the city’s infrastructure, the state is willing to pay for losses of appliances, building materials and other property caused by flooded basements. Lockport is believed to have had about 600 flooded basements during the June 28 storm, which dumped five inches of rain on the city in an afternoon.
Tucker thanked Cuomo, State Sen. George D. Maziarz and U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer for pushing for fast action for the city’s residents and businesses.
The city was approved for $800,000 from FEMA to repair damage to streets and to the wastewater treatment plant.
Friday, Tucker lifted a state of emergency pertaining to the wastewater plant, which allowed the city to hire a company to make repairs without having to go through the competitive bidding process.
Norman D. Allen, city director of engineering and public works, said STC Construction of Springville has completed work on cleaning one of the plant’s grit screens, which picks out large objects in sewage before the liquids are treated.
The tab for cleaning the clogged screen was about $33,000, Allen said. The city had told FEMA inspectors that the plant had suffered about $200,000 worth of damage.
Allen said STC “came up with a good plan to save money.”
But the work at the plant isn’t done. Allen said city crews will work on repairing a sampler shed in the plant and installing new part in one of the plant’s four water clarifiers. All the work is expected to be reimbursed by FEMA.