DOLGEVILLE — The village of Dolgeville is working to send in paperwork to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would help determine the total cost of damage to the area following devastating flooding and wind damage from storms that swept the region for three days starting on Halloween 2019.
Mayor Mary E. Puznowski said that paperwork will be submitted this week.
“We will be keeping the resident informed,” Puznowski. “No doubt we will have a meeting of all those that are involved.”
This comes after U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Saratoga, announced that the village would receive over $1.9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for properties that were damaged by the flooding.
The storms, some of which dropped two to five inches of rain in a matter of hours, caused significant damage across upstate New York, and hit parts of the Mohawk Valley particularly hard. Residents were displaced, about 100 roads were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters, and there was one death: 82-year-old Catholic priest Rev. J. Thomas Connery drowned in a flash flood while traveling to perform a service in Newport in Herkimer County. Connery was a priest in Glenville and other Capital Region communities for many years.
In Fulton County, the storms led to the East Canada Creek breaching its banks and flooding properties.
The area was later declared a disaster emergency.
“It’s been nearly three years, so this is very good news to help these folks move on with their lives and have some closures,” Puznowski said. “So, we look forward to working with FEMA once we get the official go-ahead.”
The money through FEMA would be used to purchase and demolish 20 properties within the 100-year-old flood plain, according to Stefanik’s press release. The work also includes site stabilization and grading.
“It is an honor to have delivered this result for the Village of Dolgeville and return $1.9 million in taxpayer dollars to our district,” Stefanik said in the release.
Dolgeville Fire Chief David Jaquay lost his home in the flood. He said Tuesday that there was around 40 inches of water inside his home following the storm. Since then, he and his family have purchased a home on a hill on the south end of the village.
“There is no rebuilding on that land,” he said, noting he would’ve had to raise it six feet in order to build. “My flood policy was not good enough to do that.”
He remains cautiously optimistic about the money coming to Dolgeville.
“It’s government, and government works at the speed of slow,” he said.
He said, look at New Orleans, where people are still rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina.
“If the money comes, and it works out, then great,” he said. “I didn’t walk away from my house that night banking on anybody but me.”
He also said there’s a lot of questions to be answered regarding whether he could participate in the program through FEMA.
“I’m not really sure how this works for us,” he said. “There were a lot of questions as to what happens if you have a flood policy. There’s some questions that need to be answered.”