LOCKPORT – Patricia Garver of Lockport opened the envelope Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gave her today, gasped and started to weep.
It was a check for $31,900, the maximum allowed under the state’s flood aid program.
“Oh my God! Oh, my God! Oh, thank God!” said Garver, whose Pennsylvania Avenue home’s basement was filled with waist-deep water during the June 28 flash flood that struck Lockport with six inches of rain in an afternoon, overwhelming the city sewer system.
“The windows in the basement, they’re leaking because the water was pouring down. I lost every appliance down there: my washer, my dryer, my furnace, my sump pump. I had sludge in my basement. The walls were finished, I had to have all that removed because of the mold, so I’ve been working on this all summer. I’m running out of money,” said Garver.
She and her daughters, Amy and Lyndsay, posed for photos with Cuomo after today’s speech in Lockport City Hall, in which Cuomo announced that 313 Niagara County property owners are receiving a total of $2.27 million in aid checks from Albany.
Another pleased recipient was Martin Olivieri, co-owner of the Widewaters Drive-In, a Market Street restaurant put out of business by the flood.
Olivieri said he and his business partner, Louis Antonacci, received the maximum allowed by law, which Cuomo said was $50,000, just as the Garvers received the maximum for a homeowner.
The money was passed out just over a month after Cuomo spoke in Lockport July 23 and promised action for property owners, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency refused to pay for damage except that to public infrastructure.
“I have never seen this complicated a governmental task done this quickly,” said Cuomo, whose administration approved a total of 1,206 checks, totaling $13.6 million, for flood damage in Niagara County and four counties in the Mohawk Valley, hit by June floods.