Congressman Anthony Brindisi joined Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with several other New York representatives urging President Trump to approve major disaster declarations in parts of the state most affected by the severe storms on Halloween night.
Cortland was one of 22 counties across the state deemed to be in most need of federal assistance after these storms, which dropped at least three inches of rain on 12 of those counties, equating to nearly a month’s worth in most Upstate areas.
The renewed urgency came in the form of a bipartisan letter sent to the president, which was also co-sponsored by Representatives Elise Stefanik, Antonio Delgado, John Katko, Paul Tonko, Tom Reed and Brian Higgins,
“Communities across Upstate New York saw horrific damage and heartbreak during these floods,” Congressman Brindisi said. “I am calling on President Trump to declare a major disaster and release funds from FEMA to help make these communities whole. These dollars won’t bring back what families lost, but they will go a long way to try and help our counties rebuild.”
State and local officials have already conducted the FEMA-mandated Preliminary Damage Assessments, and Governor Cuomo sent an official declaration request last Tuesday (November 26), which now requires Presidential approval.
According to FEMA, in order to meet the threshold for public assistance, the impacted counties and the state must both meet a monetary damage threshold.
That threshold varies by county and the state threshold is $29.6 million.
Cortland County’s repairs are expected to be well in the thousands, although no specific amount has been specified.
“We write in strong support of the State of New York’s request for a major disaster declaration for the widespread damage and flooding caused by heavy rains and strong sustained winds on October 31, 2019,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “There is no doubt that this damage has overwhelmed state and local governments, and that a major disaster declaration is necessary.
Federal assistance programs will be critical, so that our communities can recover from the flood damage. We strongly support the State of New York’s request for a major disaster declaration in the areas impacted by this storm event.
We appreciate your swift attention and consideration of this request and stand ready to work with you and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to deliver support and resources to the impacted communities.”