05.03.10

SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO REIMBURSE OSWEGO & FULTON FOR SNOW DAMAGE AND CLEANUP

With area hit by three days of snow piling 50 inches high, Oswego and Fulton incur thousands in cleanup expenses; Estimated cost in Fulton alone is $150,000Schumer pushes FEMA to expedite State's request for federal assistance for Oswego, Lewis, Cayuga, and Oneida Counties

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse the counties of Oswego, Lewis, Cayuga, and Oneida to help them recover from an onslaught of snow as soon as possible. With the localities exceeding their overtime budgets to remove the snow from its roads, Schumer wrote to FEMA today saying the federal government should provide relief immediately.

"When you have enough snow to create a town full of ice tunnels where no one can drive and everyone is confined to their homes, I'd call that an emergency," Schumer said. "This area had almost 140 inches of snow this winter. Enough is enough. Let's get them some help."

Schumer said that once the State's application for federal aid is in, FEMA will determine if the area is eligible for funds and how much relief it will get. Officials from Oswego and Fulton are still determining the total cost of the cleanup, but some officials in Fulton estimate that $150,000 was spent clearing roads and roofs while Oswego officials have not yet arrived at an estimate. Schumer said that the assistance was particularly vital considering the danger that was posed to pedestrians and drivers because of the tall snowbanks.

"The local governments were a godsend in dealing with this and their efforts saved lives. Now we need to pay them back for their troubles, and we need to do it without delay," he said. "The State has already declared the region a disaster area and has its troops helping the localities. Now we need the federal government to step in, too."

FEMA provides snow removal assistance for a 48 hour time period to address the most critical emergency needs. Some of the costs FEMA reimburses include overtime, contracts, use of equipment, rental equipment, and materials and supplies, such as sand and salt.

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