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Cherry Files Second Appeal for Jail Relocation

Written By Editor on 2/4/14 | 2/4/14

After months of seeking statewide support, redrafting arguments, and working with the County Board of Supervisors, Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry filed the county's second appeal to FEMA officials on Friday morning. The appeal, if approved, would relocate the county's Public Safety Facility to higher ground, and outside of the floodplain. 

In a letter addressed to the New York State Emergency Management Office, and republished in the Schoharie News, Mr. Cherry argued that, "Our second appeal to FEMA is based not only upon economic common sense and fairly predictable future events, it is based upon FEMA’s own legal and regulatory requirements. First and foremost is the fact that when dealing with a critical facility located within a designated flood-zone, FEMA is legally obligated to comply with local and state code requirements when evaluating whether to repair the existing damaged structure as compared to relocating that structure to higher ground outside of the floodplain."

FEMA rejected Schoharie County's initial appeal on the agency's 50% rule, stating that it would not accept a project that included state funding. The state has committed to paying 25% for any costs associated with the reconstruction, but this conflicts with FEMA regulations.

According to the County's letter to FEMA, the agency did not send a response back to the first appeal, and FEMA even "failed to understand the precedence of our arguments which are that law trumps regulation and regulation trumps policy." The County also says that FEMA cannot have it "both ways" in the process and that their involvement in the moving of the facility is vital for the success of the project.
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