ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is asking President Barack Obama to declare 26 New York counties a federal disaster area so aid can be provided to cover the costs of cleanup and repairs of damage from recent heavy rain and floods.
Cuomo also asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to issue a natural disaster designation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and state officials estimate more than $38 million in infrastructure repair and debris removal, with damage to 1,060 residences. The statewide damage threshold to qualify for federal aid is $25 million.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Much of the damage was in Franklin and Essex counties, where Lake Champlain and the AuSable, Raquette and Saranac rivers spilled over their banks. A number of people had to be evacuated from their homes for days in Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, and Lake Champlain is still above flood level.
Cuomo is asking FEMA to implement its Public Assistance program in 21 counties, including Essex and Franklin, to provide 75 percent federal reimbursement to municipalities for cleanup costs, emergency response and public facility repairs.
Cuomo has also asked for the Individual Assistance program to help individuals and businesses impacted by the flooding. Flood insurance is expensive, and few people had it locally.