Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not sound too optimistic recently about the federal government providing aid for Mohawk Valley communities – including Fort Plain – recently devastated by flooding.
However, the governor has said he would bring the state Legislature back to Albany to find a way to help local municipalities, businesses and individuals if a federal disaster is not declared.
We applaud Cuomo for offering to have the state help if key federal disaster aid fails to become available.
Numerous officials – including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer – have been pressing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve the request for a federal disaster declaration in the counties that were severely flooded.
According to a news release from Schumer, the state submitted the request to the federal government, which must be officially approved by the White House.
FEMA, as the federal agency with jurisdiction, will recommend the request be approved or denied.
According to information from the agency, it uses a number of criteria to determine the severity, effect and magnitude of a disaster, including the amount and type of damage, frequency of disaster events over a recent period and level of insurance coverage in place for homeowners and public facilities.
A federal disaster declaration is important because it permits the federal government to provide a variety of aid, including housing, grants and other aid to municipalities to pay for part of the cost of rebuilding a community’s damaged infrastructure.
People in Fort Plain could use the help. Should the feds fail, we hope the state will pull through.