The Telegram
  • Some flood victims still waiting for checks

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  • Some local residents affected by the early summer flooding have received checks from New York state to help pay for new furnaces and for other repairs.
    Others, like James Finnegan, of Mohawk, are still waiting and he wants to find out how many others are in the same situation. He asked anyone who is still waiting for a check contact him at 867-7698. He plans to organize a gathering to discuss the issue.
    Those who have not received checks may have to wait a bit longer.
    State Sen. James Seward said during a telephone interview Friday it appears the $16 million in assistance the governor promised to help those affected by the flood has been exhausted, leaving about $9 million in applications that have not yet been funded.
    He said his office has received calls from some 25 to 30 people asking when they would receive checks from the state.
    “There is no question that the need has exceeded available funding in the first round,” said Seward, R - Oneonta. “I’m pushing for additional funding to be identified. The state needs to stand behind its commitment to help property owners.” He said he is advocating for all those eligible to receive assistance. “We can’t have winners and losers here,” he said.
    Governor Andrew Cuomo met with state and local officials and area residents on Aug. 29 at Herkimer County Community College during a series of visits in which he issued $13.6 million in state aid checks to 1,206 homeowners, renters, businesses and farmers affected by flooding across the Mohawk Valley, Central New York and Niagara County. In Herkimer County, he issued 558 checks totaling $6,604,757.
    It was announced at the time additional applications were being processed and more checks were expected to be issued in the coming days.
    Finnegan said he was told seven weeks ago to be patient, that he would receive something in the mail, but he has still not received a check.
    He took a survey, going up and down the streets in Mohawk that were affected by the flooding, and found while some people had received checks, others had not. All of the people on one street had received checks while half on a second street received them and none on a third.
    “There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to who got what,” he said.
    Finnegan said he had to take out an equity loan to pay for a new furnace. Some residents, particularly the elderly, would have a hard time paying for a new furnace without help and those furnaces will soon be needed, he said.
    He said he has been in contact with Seward’s office and has been making calls on his own as well, but has received no definite answer.
    Page 2 of 2 - Immediately after FEMA’s decision to deny recovery funding to homeowners, Cuomo announced the launch of the Mohawk Valley and 2013 Upstate Flood Recovery Program to allow residents who sustained damage to their homes to receive much needed funding and rebuild.
    For homeowners, eligible costs include the repair and replacement of damage to roofs, windows, doors, siding, flooring, drywall, insulation, foundations, well and septic systems, electric systems, fuel tanks, heating and water systems and appliances, as well as remediation of environmental hazards. Homeowners whose properties were destroyed by these floods were also eligible for a buyout of their damaged property.
    For businesses, eligible costs included reimbursement for losses to inventory, equipment, materials, fixtures and furniture; as well as design, construction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of flood damaged structures. For farms, funding was made available to help with capital repair and replacement needs.
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