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NY Rising: Storm Recovery Conference held in Albany

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Mohawk Valley leaders traveled to Albany on Thursday to learn specifics on how to connect with hundreds of millions of dollars in government aid available to help communities rebuild and recover from the flood of 2013.

The "New York Rising Storm Recovery" Conference took place at Hart Theater at the "Egg" in Albany. It began with a video of how New York State has recovered from natural disasters in the past. Then, the Governor spoke, announcing that 102 severely damaged communities would be eligible for up to $750 million to aid in reconstruction.

$500 million was made available through the federal supplemental appropriation the Governor worked with Congress to obtain earlier this year.

Communities have eight months to submit to the state recovery plans that not only repair damage, but address the potential for future flooding and work craft a permanent solution to the problem.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. and Herkimer County Legislative Chairman Jim Bono attended Thursday's conference. The two say they plan to collaborate and begin working together immediately to secure the largest possible share of cash.

Bono says the solution doesn't have to be complicated; that routine maintenance is key, pointing out that the state did more work in the county the week of the flooding than it had in possibly two decades. Bono says more frequent involvement and assistance from the state would go far in addressing the recurring problem of flooding.

Senator Joe Griffo expects many communities will not only rebuild, but reinvent, in order to foster more permanent solutions to the recurrent problem of flooding.

While all parties were in Albany Thursday to talk about state aid for municipalities, most agree that people are the first priority.

County Executive Picente says that in the next few days, the county will provide information to individuals about how they can connect with state aid available to them for recovery.

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