ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Irondequoit Thursday for a ceremonial signing of legislation to help communities hit by the severe flooding during the spring. Cuomo came to Westage on the Harbor, a lakefront apartment complex off St. Paul Blvd. and spoke before hundreds of residents and local officials.
The state is offering $45 million in aid to communities impacted by the flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Another $10 million will go to several counties for damage related to other storms.
Cuomo also said that he will be seeking reimbursement from the federal government for that aid, and he sounds optimistic that the state will be able to meet the level of damage required in order to get the aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We’re going to be sending a letter to FEMA saying we intend to apply for FEMA funding, I believe we’re going to hit those thresholds, I believe it’s only right that the federal government comes to the table and antes up and helps us pay for this disaster.”
The $55 million package was approved recently by state lawmakers. Area legislators originally proposed a bill that called for $90 million in aid, but compromised after Cuomo expressed some concerns about the bill.
The governor, like several other local officials, has been critical of the regulation of the water level in Lake Ontario by the International Joint Commission. Three members of that commission are appointed by the U.S.
Cuomo is asking President Trump to replace the two sitting commissioners and to fill a vacant seat.
“The president appoints three people to the IJC, I’d love one to be a New Yorker, but certainly they should know the Great Lakes, they should know the environmental issues they’re dealing with, so when they make these judgments, they make these judgements in the most informed way.”
Officials with the IJC have maintained that any changes caused by a new plan to regulate Lake Ontario had minimal impact on the overall flooding this year. They say it was primarily due to the unusually heavy rainfall in the Spring.