03.24.15

SCHUMER URGES FEMA TO SWIFTLY REVIEW & APPROVE ADDITIONAL FED FUNDING FOR THE CITY OF TROY TO COVER COST OF MAJOR REPAIRS TO CAMPBELL AVENUE & ADJOINING SEWER, WHICH WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED DURING HURRICANE IRENE – FED REIMBURSEMENT WILL HELP PREVENT LOCAL TAXPAYERS FROM SHOULDERING COSTS

In 2011, Hurricane Irene’s Wrath Collapsed Sewers, Damaged Two Manholes & Caused Road Instability, Slope Failure on Campbell Avenue; Storm Damage Forced The City Of Troy To Close The Road For Several Months

 

FEMA Originally Approved Project Cost of $400,000 to Rebuild & Rehab, But it Was Not Enough Due To The Complexity of Repairs; The Total Cost of Repairs for the City Was Well Over $1 Million, A Necessary Expense to Keep Residents Safe & Adjoining Sewer Infrastructure Intact

 

Schumer to FEMA: Approve Additional Repair Costs to Keep City & Local Taxpayers from Shouldering Heavy Burden of Repair Projects

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to swiftly review and approve the City of Troy’s application for additional federal funding to cover costs of repairs to Campbell Avenue and adjoining sewage infrastructure that the city was forced to undertake following Hurricane Irene. Schumer explained that, as a result of flooding during the storm, the sewer running underneath a section of Campbell Avenue, where it intersects with Sherman Avenue and Donegal Road, collapsed, creating sink holes that damaged two manholes. Ultimately, slop failure undermined a section of Campbell Avenue and resulted in its closing for several months due to road instability. Schumer explained that FEMA approved an initial $400,514.42 allocation, which is what the project was initially expected to cost. Due to the complex nature of the project, however, it ended up costing over $1 million, and Schumer is urging FEMA to approve the additional $686,388.02 that the repairs ended up costing. Schumer said providing Troy with these funds is critical because it would fully reimburse the City for the significant repairs that were needed to preserve the city’s water infrastructure and repair the damaged section of Campbell Avenue. Schumer said approving this funding would help keep the city and local taxpayers from shouldering the heavy burden of repair projects that were necessary for public safety and health. This project has a 75% federal cost-share; if the full project cost is approved, FEMA will cover $815,176,83 of the cost.

 

“This section of Campbell Avenue was hit hard by Hurricane Irene, and FEMA should pick up the tab for the full cost of repairs. We should not force local taxpayers to pay the bill just because the repair project was so complex that it ended up costing more than initially anticipated,” said Schumer. “Restoring Campbell Avenue and the adjoining sewer infrastructure was critical to helping Troy get back on its feet. These additional funds from FEMA will help the City of Troy put Hurricane Irene further behind it and get back on its feet.”

 

Hurricane Irene struck in September 2011, when heavy rains flooded and severely damaged the City of Troy’s sewer infrastructure as well as a section of Campbell Avenue, where it intersects with Sherman Avenue and Donegal Road. During the storm, severe flooding led to significant overflows that caused the sewer to collapse. This collapse created sink holes, which undermined the road and damaged two manholes. This infrastructure damage, coupled with high levels of groundwater due to flooding, created road instability and ultimately led to slope failure on Campbell Avenue. Because the road was deemed unsafe, city officials issued an emergency declaration for Campbell Avenue and were forced to close the road for several months while repairs were made.

 

The repairs for the damage to the city’s sewer and Campbell Avenue were initially estimated at $400,514.42, and Troy was reimbursed for 75% of this cost, which was $300,385.82. However, Schumer, said because this was a very complex project that took seven months to complete, actual costs ended up exceeding the estimated costs laid out in the original FEMA Project Worksheet. For example, the original estimate did not include the cost of the engineering study that FEMA requested that the city complete. The cost of rental equipment, including submersible pumps, an on-site fuel tank, and dump trucks, also ran high due to the of the length of time that the project took to complete. Schumer said these are not factors the City of Troy could have accounted for in its initial request, but the repairs were necessary for the sake of public health and safety. The final cost of the project was $1,086,902.44. As a result, Schumer is calling on FEMA to approve the additional $686,388.02 so the city has the funding it needs to cover the cost of these further repairs and not pass along the financial burden to taxpayers.

 

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to FEMA appears below:

 

Dear Administrator Fugate:

 

I write to urge you to promptly review and approve the City of Troy’s request for additional funding in their final inspection report (PW 7945, DR-NY 4020). FEMA originally approved a Project Worksheet with an estimated cost of $400,000, but because of the complexity of the project, actual costs for the eligible work ended up exceeding the initial estimate by nearly $700,000.

 

In September 2011, the rain, heavy winds, and flooding associated with Hurricane Irene caused damage throughout the City of Troy, including a section of Campbell Avenue. During the storm, flooding led to significant surcharging conditions, or overflowing, that caused a sewer to collapse. This collapse created sink holes which undermined the road and damaged two manholes. The high levels of groundwater also contributed to road instability, and ultimately slope failure. Because the road was deemed unsafe, city officials issued an emergency declaration for Campbell Avenue in February, closing the road for several months while repairs were made.

 

Because this was a very complex project that took seven months to complete, actual costs ended up exceeding the estimated costs laid out in the initial Project Worksheet. For example, the original Project Worksheet did not include the cost of the engineering study that FEMA requested that the city complete. The cost of rental equipment, including submersible pumps, an on-site fuel tank, and dump trucks, also ran high because of the length of time that the project took to complete.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important issue. I appreciate the support that you have already given to the City of Troy, and I urge you to promptly review and approve their request for additional funding.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

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