Monroe, Cayuga are in the money: FEMA amends shoreline disaster area
by: Steve Orr
Two months after omitting municipalities in Monroe and Cayuga counties from its Lake Ontario flooding disaster area, federal officials have amended the declaration to make them eligible.
President Donald Trump declared the shoreline a disaster area on Nov. 14, which made government agencies in lake shore communities eligible for federal aid to help cover damage to public property and money spent responding to the historic shoreline flooding.
Monroe’s omission, in particular, was surprising, because local governments had spent considerable money responding to months of high water on the lake. Officials later acknowledged that the damage assessment in Monroe had been mysteriously cut short.
State officials blamed the county, and county officials blamed the state. What really happened remains unclear.
Nonetheless, state emergency officials appealed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revisit the damage assessments in Monroe and Cayuga counties.
After field visits and paperwork review, FEMA and other officials announced Friday that the two counties had surpassed their thresholds and were now included.
The new preliminary damage estimate for Monroe County is $3,338,996, compared to the county’s population-base threshold of about $2.7 million. Cayuga’s estimate is $364,837 versus a threshold of about $289,000.
FEMA customarily reimburses local governments up to 75 percent of eligible costs.
Officials in Rochester, Albany and Washington, D.C. who had lobbied FEMA to amend its declaration were quick to heap praise on the agency. County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said its action “will help local governments receive fair funding for costs incurred as a result of significant flooding along Lake Ontario last year.