As he surveyed the damage, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy vowed to get help for Penn Yan residents and business owners hit hard by this week's devastating flash floods.
As he surveyed the damage, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy vowed to get help for Penn Yan residents and business owners hit hard by this week’s devastating flash floods.
Duffy’s tour of East Elm Street with local officials Thursday included a stop at the now-closed Wagner Restaurant, where the lieutenant governor and his wife have enjoyed breakfast during their stays at their Keuka Lake cottage in the Town of Jerusalem.
“This is personal for me,” Duffy said.
He said he and his family were fortunate their property was not damaged, but noted there was damage to docks on either side of their property. “But the most important thing is the people whose primary residences and places of business were damaged,” he said.
Duffy said the damage “is no different than what we saw with (hurricanes) Sandy and Irene. We’re going to look into what help we can provide.”
After meeting at Village Hall with officials from Yates County, Penn Yan, Milo and representatives from other state agencies, Duffy said he would relay the community’s needs to state agencies and get on the phone with Gov. Andrew Cuomo as soon as he was in his car.
“Nobody has more practice at this than the governor,” Duffy said.
Wednesday, Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the area hit hardest by the storm, which dumped 5 to 7 inches of rain Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Noting the nearly $70,000 in damage at Camp Good Days & Special Times, and extensive damage to roads and infrastructure outside the village, Duffy praised local leadership and volunteers, who have been working since the creeks overflowed.
Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed visited parts of Yates County and spoke with individuals and business owners hit hardest. After viewing the damage, Reed encouraged Cuomo to take steps to determine the extent of the damage and, if necessary, seek federal aid for repairs.
“Seeing the damage firsthand and listening to all that home and business owners will have to do to repair their property, we need to offer assistance and any care that we can,” Reed said. “Getting impacted areas back up and safely operating again is the priority. If the local need exceeds the state and county’s ability, federal assistance should be sought.”
Municipalities in Yates County may be eligible for federal aid, which is funneled through state agencies, depending on the total amount of damage. Several factors are involved in determining the level of aid.
Meanwhile, Steve Griffin, executive director of Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, said that agency’s board of directors has approved reserving up to $150,000 that can be loaned interest free to businesses impacted by the storm damage. Payments on the loans will not begin until 90 days after re-opening for business, he said. If the needs exceed that threshold, other area financial institutions might be able to assist with similar programs, he says.