EnvironmentFeatured PieceThe Putnam Examiner

Disaster Declaration Approved for Putnam; Reps Waiting on Westchester

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Some of the worst flooding in the Hudson Valley was found at Shrub Oak Park, shown above, following the July 9 downpours that inundated communities throughout the region. President Biden approved a disaster declaration on Saturday for Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess counties.

Area representatives continue to press for more federal help to assist the hard-hit areas of the lower Hudson Valley that were devastated by a barrage of heavy rainstorms and in the past couple of weeks.

On Saturday, President Biden approved Gov. Kathy Hochul’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration to provide federal assistance to communities impacted by flooding from the recent storms.

On Sunday, Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) sent a letter thanking President Biden for approving assistance to communities in Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

The two lawmakers also urged the President to approve individual homeowner assistance and add Westchester County to the disaster declaration. All four counties remain under a State of Emergency declaration in the aftermath of the storms.

Portions of Westchester County, particularly Yorktown and Cortlandt Manor from the July 9 downpours and Mount Pleasant last Tuesday, sustained heavy damage during the storms.

Lawler surveyed storm damage across the Hudson Valley and joined Slater in visiting some of the areas in Westchester that had been most impacted, including neighborhoods in Jefferson Valley and The Links at Valley Fields, a Shrub Oak golf course which had just fully opened a day before the storms.

Lawler said Hudson Valley constituents are struggling to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of devastating floods that rocked the Hudson Valley earlier this month.

“It is a harsh reality that the aftermath of such a disaster brings considerable financial hardship for homeowners who are struggling to rebuild,” Lawler and Slater said in a joint statement. “This federal aid will undoubtedly ease the financial burden and help homeowners recover in full. While some areas in Westchester experienced more damage than others, many municipalities face a daunting and costly recovery that they cannot go alone.”

“By granting individual homeowner assistance and extending the disaster declaration to include these hard-hit areas, we can ensure a more equitable distribution of resources, alleviating the burden on taxpayers and expediting the recovery process,” the two lawmakers concluded.

Last week, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne met with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and senior adviser to President Biden and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu for a roundtable discussion about recovery efforts in the Hudson Valley.

“This storm exposed various infrastructure needs in our county, and I’m extremely grateful to Sen. Gillibrand and Mr. Landrieu for coming to our area for this important discussion,” Byrne said. “I specifically requested Mr. Landrieu’s support in getting White House approval for the federal Major Disaster Declaration and asked for a less ambiguous threshold to qualify our region for individual assistance, in order to better assist our residents still hurting from storm damage earlier this month.”

Eligibility for assistance to individuals is still being evaluated by the state and federal government. Residents are encouraged to document damage and work with their insurance companies.

Putnam County’s Bureau of Emergency Services confirmed with New York State that it is compiling data from individuals and small businesses statewide to strengthen the state’s request for individual assistance. Residents are encouraged to visit www.Putnamcountyny.com/damagereport.

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