Two months after heavy flooding ravaged the Mohawk Valley, homeowners in Oneida, Herkimer and Montgomery Counties are receiving checks to help them rebuild. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Herkimer and Oneida on Thursday to tell residents that checks are being sent out immediately.
"Today we're going to be issuing checks to 1,200 homeowners, renters and businesses, total of about $13.6 million," Cuomo said. "Five hundred fifty-eight people in Herkimer [County], 145 in Oneida, 104 in Montgomery will receive funding."
State Sen. James Seward, who represents portions of Herkimer County, said the floods set back the region economically, and that it has taken a joint effort by state and local governments and volunteers to help get the damaged region back on its feet.
"Today the flood relief money is beginning to flow, and this is a tremendous infusion into our local economy, as well," Seward said. "I don't recommend it as an economic development strategy, but this is a tremendous infusion."
Oneida County Executive Tony Picente was also thankful for the state's assistance.
"It has been a long haul, but we have had a great partner with us in Gov. Cuomo," Picente said. "He came here the first day, he has been with us and in constant contact with us and, as the senator said, he's been here five times... helping us move through this process, showing the residents of this community that he is- and this is -one New York and that we work together."
Homeowners are eligible for up to $31,000 in state aid to cover damage costs. Businesses and farms are eligible for as much as $50,000. In mid-July, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, said that individual homeowners in the Mohawk Valley were not eligible for federal funding because damage totals did not exceed certain benchmarks. Cuomo says the state is doing what it needs to do to rebuild, but it is also using the opportunity to "build back better than before."