Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Saratoga County

Disaster Aid sought for Sullivan, Orange, and Putnam Counties

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Albany/HV: Disaster Aid sought for Sullivan, Orange, and Putnam Counties
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Orange, Putnam and Sullivan Counties still haven't qualified for FEMA disaster assistance from damage associated with Sandy. Our Christian Farrell has more on the latest push to get the federal government to help.

LIBERTY, N.Y. -- Dwyer Avenue in Liberty looked like a mess immediately following Sandy. Now a week and a half later, the images remain virtually unchanged. It's damage in Sullivan County though that has made tree excavator Glenn Montalbano a busy man.

"I tell you I've been here most of my life, and this is worst storm I've ever seen," said Montalbano.

With such extensive damage U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on FEMA to amend its major disaster declaration to include Orange, Putnam, and Sullivan Counties. According to Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau, the financially strapped county needs to be on that list.

"There's been extensive damage to both individual property and public property that needs to be addressed, and FEMA's assistance is critically important. As budgets are tight all across the area, there's not a way to have money set aside to deal with a catastrophic event such as the natural disaster associated with Hurricane Sandy," said Fanslau.

According to Sullivan County officials, last week FEMA representatives got a first hand look at the considerable damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

Fanslau said the county's damage threshold to qualify for federal assistance is $1.2 million.

"I'm anticipating that Sullivan County will be included in the disaster declaration in a matter of days," said Fanslau.

That certainly would be good news for those on Dwyer Avenue, where unless the feds do offer to help, it might take awhile to fix what's broken.

"Something like this is probably, I would estimate, is probably about eight to $10,000. It's going to require a crane to come in here to actually grab on to the tree and lift the tree off of the roof," said Montalbano.

A bill Schumer said FEMA shouldn't have any trouble paying for, considering it has seven billion dollars in its reserves for disaster relief.

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