Thursday 8 December 2022
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Lake Ontario Residents Receive Additional Aid For Aftermath of Last Year’s Flooding

Although it’s been nearly a year since Lake Ontario property owners experienced the flood-related devastation of their businesses and homes situated along the shoreline, many have still been unable to recover. Despite the fact that $45 million in flood relief funding was released by the state last year, countless homeowners are still waiting for that financial respite to come through. Now, New York State has included an additional $40 million for flood relief in its newest budget, marking the third time officials have had to add or redistribute funds for this purpose.

As many residents living in Orleans, Niagara, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Jefferson counties know all too well, water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim in the United States. Even though current Lake Ontario water levels are lower than they were this time last year, they’re still higher than normal. Not only are homeowners throughout the state worried about future flooding incidents, but they’re still struggling to clean up from last year’s events. According to State Senator Patty Ritchie, nearly 1,200 applicants in her district have yet to receive their flood cleanup reimbursement requests, rendering them unable to conduct necessary repairs. Senator Robert Ortt pushed for the additional funding that was eventually added to the state budget, as many property owners in his districts were stuck on a waiting list for repairs.

Part of the problem stems from shortage of contractors and materials. Even though the construction industry boasts more than 650,000 employers and 6 million employees who create $1 trillion worth of structures every year across the nation, the supply can’t keep up with the increased demand in New York generic provigil State. One contractor in Wilson, NY told a local news source that the calls they’ve received so far this year are more than the entirety of the calls they received throughout 2017. According to Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey, there’s a substantial backlog for materials and contractors that will likely last through May. That leaves homeowners who need repairs or want to take preventative measures in the lurch.

State lawmakers are also urging the International Joint Commission (IJC) to maximize the outflows from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River. The IJC recently scaled back the amount of water being released, prompting New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to send a letter to IJC Chair Lana Pollack pleading the agency to reconsider.

“New Yorkers are justifiably concerned about renewed flooding this spring,” Cuomo wrote. “The problems associated with high water levels should not fall disproportionately on New York’s shorelines.”

Last year, Cuomo blamed IJC for the problems associated with the historic floods. Other lawmakers share Cuomo’s frustration with the IJC. Oswego County Assemblyman Will Barclay told the press that the IJC’s decision to decrease the water flow was reportedly due to river-based shipping, while New York Senator Chuck Schumer recently expressed during a stop in Fulton that “we need a whole restructuring of the IJC… it’s a mess.”

One thing’s for sure: unless repairs and preventative measures are taken, it’s the Lake Ontario shoreline that will once again be a mess, assuming this year’s weather is as rainy. And for now, many homeowners may be stuck until funding comes through and contractors become available. Unfortunately, waiting and wishing may be all they can do until then.