Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants the Federal Emergency Management Agency to quickly approve any requests from New York for disaster aid in the aftermath of severe thunderstorms and flooding that affected several upstate counties.
Schumer, D-N.Y., met with FEMA Administrator Brock Long Thursday and urged the agency to be ready to grant major disaster declarations requested by the state.
Severe weather hit several communities last month. Flash flooding in Cayuga County caused millions in infrastructure damage. Tornadoes touched down in Erie County and damaged the county fairgrounds near Buffalo. Flash floods occurred in other central New York counties.
Driving down North Glen Haven Road in the town of Niles Wednesday, "for sale" signs dotted t…
Local and state funding has been allocated to help areas affected by the storms, but federal aid may be needed.
"That is why I made a strong case to FEMA Administrator Long to support any forthcoming requests for a disaster declaration and federal assistance that come to his desk," Schumer said. "Administrator Long was attentive, well-prepared and I appreciated the time we spent together to review New York's needs."
If FEMA approves a disaster declaration, grants will be available to the state and local governments. The funding will be available to reimburse municipalities for costs related to emergency work or repairing damaged facilities.
According to Schumer's office, FEMA usually covers 75 percent of eligible costs for emergency work.
To begin the disaster declaration process, states must request a preliminary damage assessment. This survey conducted by FEMA determines whether the damage warrants a federal disaster declaration.