Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $1,736,501 in federal funding for Delaware County to purchase flood-prone properties impacted by flooding in 2011. This grant, which is being awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will offset the remaining 25 percent of the cost for the project. Federal funds were previously awarded to cover 75 percent of the project, for which the total cost is $6,946,004. This funding will allow the county to purchase and repurpose 49 flood-prone properties, specifically within the Village of Sidney, for the creation of open space. All of the structures located in the flood area were declared “substantially damaged” by local floodplain experts following the severe flooding and subsequent damage in 2011. This funding will help the county and village be better prepared for future flooding with ways to mitigate and diminish the risk. Funds were previously awarded in March of 2013 in the amount of $3,154,612, in September of 2013 in the amount of $ 265,661, and in March of 2014 in the amount of $1,789,230.
“It is not enough to simply rebuild and repair; we must also prepare ourselves for the next storm and the next potential flood. That’s exactly what this federal grant will do, helping to lower the risk of flood damage for Delaware County properties that are most in harm’s way,” said Senator Schumer. “These much-needed federal funds will help the county and the Village of Sidney purchase and repurpose nearly 50 flood-prone properties in the area for the creation of open space. Spending a penny today on flood-prevention efforts could save the federal government and Delaware County homeowners a dollar tomorrow in repair costs.”
“Flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee has devastated communities throughout Delaware County and left some homes and businesses beyond repair,” said Senator Gillibrand. “By purchasing severely flood-prone properties and turning those high-risk areas into open space, we can help protect the community from future flooding. This critical FEMA program helps us better prepare for the future and helps sustain our communities by preventing further devastation of homes and businesses.”
“Hearing this good news today only ensures that as time goes on we’ll be able to move these flood prone locations to higher ground,” said Jim Eisel, Chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. “These funds facilitate getting the job done sooner rather than later.”
In April of 2014, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand announced that FEMA had awarded Delaware County another $1.7 million in federal funds to buyout and demolish severely flood-damaged buildings in Delaware County, also in the Town of Sidney. This money was one of the several installments used to remove blighted properties in Delaware County and create new green space in the village. Because the damaged buildings were located in a flood hazard zone, where there was persistent and severe flooding, demolishing the structures was Delaware County’s preferred plan. Delaware County applied for these funds so that it would be able to acquire the properties and demolish all structures, fill any basements, and place topsoil over the sites, grade and seed. After demolition and site reclamation, the properties were turned over to the municipality to maintain as open space.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states and localities to implement long-term resiliency measures after a major disaster. The purpose of these grants is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.