FORT PLAIN - Gov. Andrew Cuomo and National Grid last week announced $2 million in new grant funding is available to local businesses affected by June's flooding.
Grants to assist agricultural, business and commercial electric and gas customers hurt by the flooding will be available from National Grid, Cuomo said in a news release.
"The recent storms that devastated communities across the Mohawk Valley have left many businesses with significant costs to repair and replace key equipment," Cuomo said in the release. "This financial support from National Grid is an important resource that will provide much-needed relief - I encourage all eligible businesses to apply and applaud National Grid's actions to aid the region's ongoing recovery."
National Grid applied to the state Public Service Commission for permission to give out grants to flood-damaged businesses. The PSC approved National Grid's request.
Ken Daly, National Grid president for New York state, said the utility is pleased with the approval.
"When we saw the devastation caused by the flooding in the Mohawk Valley and completed the electric and gas restoration, we knew that much more was needed to reconnect the equipment of the impacted customers. We will be part of the long-term recovery efforts in the region - and help rebuild these communities - just as we did after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy," Daly said in a separate release.
National Grid's Emergency Economic Development Program is designed to provide assistance to communities and businesses that need short-term support and will complement funding allocated to communities and businesses through federal and state programs, insurance or other emergency sources, the utility said in its news release.
"Many customers within National Grid's service territory are struggling to recover from the devastating effects of severe flooding caused by recent rainstorms," PSC Chairman Garry Brown said in the state release. "Governor Cuomo's issuance of disaster declaration for the counties highlighted the need for the utility to come up with a plan to help rebuild businesses, which will help sustain employment in the communities."
The utility program will provide funds to help offset costs associated with energy infrastructure repair or replacement for commercial, industrial, and mixed-use buildings.
To be eligible, customers must apply for the emergency programs by Dec. 31, 2013. Grants awarded under the emergency programs are intended to be provided to customers after all other federal and state funding and insurance disbursements to customers are exhausted.
Fort Plain Guy Barton said many businesses already have closed in the village, and people are frustrated waiting for relief money.
"This thing about just waiting, nobody knows, is very deterrent," Barton said.
Barton said Cuomo promised the village would receive aid, but the application process is challenging.
"New York state paperwork and federal government paperwork is driving people nuts," Barton said.
Arthur Cleveland can be reached at email@example.com.