Picente Announces $2.75 Million for Flood Mitigation, Cleanup and Relief Efforts

Funding will assist municipalities, residents and small businesses

County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced funding Wednesday morning aimed at mitigating and providing relief for the devastating effects of flooding throughout the area. The announcement was made at the Whitesboro Fire Department.

Picente said “We cannot stop natural disasters. However we must continue to do our best to be prepared when flooding strikes. This program will look at the areas hardest hit, whether Village, Town, City or County area and put together a plan that will mitigate the flooding in the long term.”

Picente, after the recent severe flooding, announced the county of Oneida would allocate $2 million for flood mitigation projects and $500,000 for cleanup efforts, both of which will be a 50/50 match with affected municipalities, and $250,000 that will be distributed through the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. to aid individuals in recovering the damages they incurred.

The Community Foundation will appropriate those funds in the coming days and information will be made available on how individuals can request recovery funds. Please visit www.ocgov.net or www.foundationhoc.org for updated information.

The mitigation projects have not been identified, but could include constructing detention ponds, stabilizing streams, new culverts and trash rack installations that will help prevent the destruction caused by flooding.

Picente went on to say “Today is an example of why I continuously talk about finances and having a county government that has the financial ability to invest in the community to build it better and safer for all of us that live and work here. These projects may prevent one’s home from flooding and their possessions being lost forever, or even worse flooding that causes real physical harm to loved ones.”

The New York State Department of Financial Services Mobile Command Center will be at the Whitesboro Fire Department Wednesday, July 5 through Saturday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

DFS staff will be available to provide information and assist homeowners and residents with questions and concerns relating to mortgage loans, or refinancing of loans. DFS staff will be available to provide information and assist homeowners and residents with questions and concerns relating to insurance issues.

Residents who are not able to visit the Mobile Command Center can call the Department's Disaster Hotline at 1-800-339-1759, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. for help with insurance-related issues.

Those in need of assistance can also call 2-1-1.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy  Hochul said: “Extreme climate events are no longer the extreme, they are becoming the norm, and our state agencies are on the front lines with local governments and public service workers to ensure communities recover as quickly as possible. Governor Cuomo has mobilized state help on the ground in the community and we encourage residents to avail themselves of the Department of Financial Services Mobile Command Center for assistance with navigating their insurance claims.”

U.S. Congresswoman Claudia Tenney said: “This weekend’s damaging floods devastated homes, businesses and properties across Central New York. I spent the weekend surveying the damage firsthand, climbing though flooded basements and meeting with first responders on the scene. Our office worked to help identify damaged areas and report the damage to the proper authorities. Since the onset of the flooding, my office has been in contact with state, local and federal officials as well as FEMA to ensure that any aid and assistance is provided as quickly as possible. The $2.75 million provided by Oneida County today is an important step in beginning to help prepare for and mitigate future disasters, while providing much needed aid for cleanup efforts throughout the region.”

State Senator Joseph Griffo said: “We applaud the first responders and local officials for their leadership in acting swiftly to help our communities during this difficult and trying time. The people impacted by this flooding are going to need a variety of support to help them recover and rebuild from this disaster, and we will continue to advocate for and secure whatever state and federal resources may exist to provide the flood relief these communities and residents desperately need. Unfortunately, these weather-related natural disasters seem to be striking our region more regularly than usual, so we will continue to examine all circumstances to determine if there are any environmental or infrastructural issues that can be addressed. While we cannot always control nature, we should do whatever we can to help us be more prepared to lessen the impact of any weather-related events that confront our communities and residents.”

State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said: “The support from the state and Oneida County for residents and business owners hit by this unprecedented flooding is certainly commendable. I have been hearing over the long holiday weekend from many constituents whose lives have been turned upside down by Saturday’s flooding, and I am pleased to see local not for profit agencies and representatives from all levels of government stepping up to do everything possible to assist people who have sustained flood damage. It is my hope that the lives of everyone affected by this event will return to normal as quickly as possible.”

State Assemblyman Brian Miller said: “The recent flooding has been devastating for many in our community. There is much work that needs to be done to make our community whole again. I will be working with the DEC’s regional office in any way I can to help obtain permits for flood recovery efforts. I will also be working with my colleagues in the state Legislature to obtain flood recovery funds and additional funding for flood prevention. I would like to thank all of our first responders who rushed in to help those trapped by flooding and the community members who helped their neighbors during the flooding. My staff and I are also here to assist in recovery efforts in any way that we can.”

Oneida County Board of Legislators Majority Leader George Joseph said: “The Board of Legislators has had continuous dialogue about the need for relief efforts to deal with our area’s pervasive flooding issues; but Saturday’s storm is indicative that we have not done enough. We must do more and I fully support this funding proposal to help alleviate future storm damage for Oneida County citizens.”

Community Foundation President/CEO Alicia Dicks said: “On behalf of The Community Foundation I want to express our support for area residents affected by the devastating flooding, and extend our support through Oneida County and other partners as we strive to help the community recover.”

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area CEO Brenda E. Episcopo said: "Finding health and human service help can be confusing and intimidating leaving many not knowing where to begin. That's why 2-1-1 was developed as an easy to remember phone number for people in need of help to call. 211 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects people with community resources 24 seven. It's confidential, free and multilingual service is available. Following the recent flooding, 2-1-1 is constantly being updated with resources to connect people with information about assistance in recovery needs. When there is not yet an answer for a specific type of assistance requested, 2-1-1 is collecting contact information with callers permission, so that we can reach back out as resources become available.”