OSWEGO — The Oswego County Legislature unanimously backed a resolution calling on state leaders to establish the Great Lakes Flood Recovery Grant Program in response to the destructive flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline this spring.

Supported by State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, the grant would give a boost to small businesses, farms, homeowners, nonprofits and municipalities dealing with record-high water levels near Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River.

The $55 million recovery grant program is one of several state and federal legislative efforts to provide damage and tax relief, prevent fraud and protect infrastructure in areas hit hard by unprecedented flooding.

Oswego County Tourism and Promotion Director David Turner said the grant program, if approved by the state Legislature, wouldn’t rectify the current situation along the lakeshore, but it would help position landowners to restore their properties and continue conducting business in future years.

Officials said the resolution passed Thursday would tell state officials that the region needs assistance.

Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner, R-New Haven, said it was “very important” the legislature supported the measure to show state lawmakers that county officials were united in asking for state assistance.   

“We are devastated,” Gardner said of his district, noting the legislature needs to do “anything that can be done for the people” affected by the flooding.

Legislators Shawn Doyle, R-Pulaski, and John Proud, R-Mexico, also shared their views on the importance of supporting the measure.

“We’re still underwater and there’s a lot of damage,” Doyle said of parts of his district. “It’s really tough.”

Proud called the damages along the lakeshore “devastating,” and said some landowners’ long-term prospects “are seriously in jeopardy” and they need help rebuilding and preparing a plan to address the issue long-term. 

The Great Lakes Flood Recovery Grant Program has passed the state Senate and was delivered to the state Assembly on Tuesday.

In addition to the flood recovery grant program, Assemblymen Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and Robert Oaks, R-Macedon, recently sponsored legislation calling for property tax relief through reduced assessments for owners experiencing significant damage from flooding and erosion. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the last several weeks has announced multiple state funding packages for flooding victims, including $7 million for homeowners, $10 million for municipalities and $5 million for small businesses. 

The state funding comes amid a state build-up of manpower in the region, including U.S. Coast Guardsmen and National Guardsmen coordinating with local emergency officials with sandbags, construction and repairs.

Cuomo also announced state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is working additional hours and expediting permit requests for impacted homeowners, businesses and municipalities. 

Homeowners looking for assistance through the governor’s recently announced assistance program should contact the state Homes and Community Renewal Office at ocrinfo@nyshcr.org or 518-474-2057. 

Small businesses seeking assistance with damage recovery can contact Empire State Development at 315-425-9110 or nys-centralny@esd.ny.gov.

At certain times, a state Emergency Response Mobile Command Center has been established at the state Department of Transportation maintenance center at 5846 Scenic Ave., Mexico. 

The DEC can be reached at 315-426-7444 or dep.r7@dec.ny.gov

State officials have also encouraged New Yorkers who suspect contractors and businesses of price gouging to contact the Lake Ontario Flood Assistance Hotline at 866-244-3839.

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