Wed July 24, 2013

Cuomo says natural disasters are "taxing" state resources

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined the state's storm aid and recovery package for flooding that hit the Mohawk Valley and western New York late last month, saying the near constant stream of natural disasters that have hit the state in the past few years are draining state resources.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, declined to offer assistance to individual homes and businesses damaged when heavy rains caused the Mohawk River to flood its banks. So Cuomo put up $16 million of the state's money to help out.

Cuomo said at press events that the nearly annual natural disasters the state has dealt with since he took office - Storms Irene, Lee, and Sandy - are "taxing."

More than 500 homes in the Mohawk Valley were damaged in June from rain and flooding.
Credit Gino Geruntino / WRVO/File photo

"It’s taxing our expertise. It’s taxing our ability to offer emergency services," he said.

Two million dollars of state aid will go to Niagara County, while the rest will go to the Mohawk Valley. More than 500 homes and 150 businesses were damaged there, but the financial loss was below the level that triggers automatic federal aid.

"We’re beefing up the coordination with local government because it’s not going to be just the state. It’s state, it’s county, it’s local," Cuomo said.

The governor said the state will have to find savings elsewhere in the budget in order to pay for recovery and increases in emergency management preparations, but said he will not raise taxes.

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