AUBURN — Niel Rivenburgh, deputy director of the Cayuga County Office of Emergency Services, said representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Office of Emergency Management are estimating even higher financial costs from flood damage to southern Cayuga County.
In his report to legislators Wednesday night at a Judicial and Public Safety Committee meeting, Rivenburgh said FEMA and state officials toured the Moravia area on Tuesday and estimated public infrastructure damage to be about $3.92 million. That's more than what the state had originally estimated at $3.74 million. It's still unclear whether the state will make FEMA disaster levels for the series of July rainstorms, but Rivenburgh said the state and federal government are engaged.
According to his written report, Rivenburgh wrote that southern Cayuga County did reach financial damage levels for a Small Business Administration disaster declaration. The state Office of Emergency Management told the county the declaration had been delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. When and if Cuomo signs it, the SBA would come to the county and set up Disaster Loan Outreach Centers, Rivenburgh added.
Meanwhile a FEMA declaration has been requested for areas damaged by the flooding from Lake Ontario, but the federal government has yet to act on it.
Following Rivenburgh's report, legislators approved a resolution creating acting director and deputy director positions in the county's emergency services office while current director Brian Dahl remains on medical leave.
Dahl was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester in May in need of liver and kidney transplants. He's remained on leave since, while Rivenburgh has taken the helm. In turn, Maureen Conley, fire services administrator, has taken on some of Rivenburgh's deputy director duties.
If those positions are approved by the full body at the end of the month, two people will be appointed and be compensated retroactively from May 1, considering the village of Fair Haven was declared a state of emergency at the end of April and the county was declared in a state of emergency on July 1.
Though no individual names were part of the resolution, following the meeting Human Resources Administrator Michael Russell said the positions are being created to acknowledge the duties staff have been performing.
"This allows the temporary movement of people to the positions that they have been performing and are needed by the county," Russell said.
In the meantime, it was not clear when or if Dahl will be returning to his post. A fundraiser is coming up for him called "Bunkers for Brian." It will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 at the Throop Fire House, 7159 Beech Tree Road, Auburn.