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Showing posts with label fema. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fema. Show all posts

FEMA Approves County Bid to Relocate Jail

Written By Cicero on 4/29/15 | 4/29/15

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Chris Gibson today announced that, following personal appeals, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has approved of the framework that will finally allow Schoharie County to relocate its Public Safety Building away from the Schoharie Creek and out of the flood plain. Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson explained that this important project has been delayed for years after the building was severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson said that Schoharie County and FEMA Regional staff recently came to an agreement over a framework for the total project cost of $37 million, which includes $1.5 million in insurance proceeds. The project will have a 75% federal cost share. On Tuesday, Schumer made a personal call to Administrator Fugate, where he urged Fugate to provide this final seal of approval of this framework, which will now finally allow this project to become a reality. Gillibrand also wrote Fugate in February urging him to expedite FEMA’s review of the County’s multiple requests.

“After four years of bureaucratic hurdles that were put up by FEMA, we were finally able to break through the red-tape. Now, Schoharie County will finally be able to receive the federal funding it needs to relocate its vital Public Safety Facility and get this long-overdue project underway. I was proud to go to bat for Schoharie, and that is why I personally called Administrator Fugate to urge him to swiftly approve this framework and funding,” said Schumer. “Schoharie County has already waited too long, but now, we can finally say this project is headed toward the finish line. Thanks to the perseverance of Bill Cherry, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, and their consultant, Ron Simmons – who have all worked on this tirelessly since the day the building flooded four years ago – we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I am pleased to announce that FEMA has finally heard our calls to move Schoharie County's public safety facility out of the flood plain and has approved the framework that will fully fund the relocation plan,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I toured the area after the storm and saw firsthand how important it is that this critical facility gets moved out of the flood plain. I wrote Administrator Fugate on multiple occasions urging him to expedite FEMA’s review and respond to the county’s requests. I fought for years to help get Schoharie county through this red tape so they can relocate this critical facility and now this long overdue project can finally move forward.”

“This is wonderful news for the taxpayers of Schoharie County and the hard-working men and women of the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Department,” said Congressman Gibson. “They have persevered with abundant strength, dedication, and community spirit in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and the loss of the public safety building. For over three years now, my staff and I have been honored to work with representatives at every level of government to see that federal authorities provide Schoharie County with the support and assistance it deserves. Those efforts have paid off here, and I want to express my gratitude to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo, Senator Seward, Assemblyman Lopez, Andrew Feeney and his team at the State Emergency Management Office, and a host of local officials, especially Sheriff Tony Desmond and County Treasurer William Cherry. We will continue to work together to see that our first responders have the resources they need to keep our communities safe, and that the ongoing flood recovery mission continues with the federal support that is required.”

“The people of Schoharie County deeply appreciate the strong and rock-solid support shown by Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Gibson for the relocation of our flood-damaged Public Safety Facility.  This important project will guarantee that such a vital facility and emergency response center will never again be left vacant and inoperable at the critical moment when it will be most needed should we face another disaster.  Thanks to their combined leadership and consistent support, FEMA will now allow us to accomplish that goal, and the fact that each of these officials have personally intervened on our behalf with FEMA Director Fugate to bring this process to a successful conclusion, certainly means a great deal to all of us involved in this very important project,” said Bill Cherry, County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Coordinator.

Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson explained that before the storm the Schoharie County Public Safety Facility performed critical public safety functions for the surrounding community. Specifically, the Public Safety Facility housed county inmates, the Sheriff’s Department and road patrol operations, the county emergency operations center, and the 911 emergency communications coordination center. During Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, the facility suffered massive damages, with floodwaters reaching the ceiling. Most operations have been temporarily relocated as the majority of the building remains uninhabitable.

County Moves Forward in bid to Relocate Jail

Written By Cicero on 4/20/15 | 4/20/15

After years of regulatory back and forth with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Schoharie County is finally making headway in its proposed relocation of the Public Safety Facility from its current location within the floodplain to higher ground.  

Informing Supervisors that a recent meeting was held between FEMA officials, New York State Homeland Security, and himself, Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry indicated that the federal agency may be open to moving the facility after all. 

FEMA, which has rejected one appeal submitted by the county, and has yet to respond to another, has maintained that the facility should be rebuilt where it stands despite the devastating effects that Irene and Lee wrought upon the building in August, 2011.

Local, state, and federal officials have vehemently disagreed with the agency's position.

Just two weeks ago a press conference was held by Congressman Gibson Gibson, State Senator Jim Seward, Assemblyman Pete Lopez, and others in the empty remnants of the Schoharie County Jail to request FEMA listen to the demands of the county. 

Mr. Cherry commented at Friday's county board meeting that, "By their own federal regulations and operating standards, FEMA must comply with local codes, laws, and floodplain regulations, and New York State has declared that repairing that critical facility in its present location would be a violation of DEC floodplain regulations."

However, Cherry did report that upon hearing the county's continued perusal of a federally approved 428 Alternative Project that would allow the county to relocate the facility on their own within a agreed-upon capped amount of funds, FEMA officials were agreeable to the idea.

Further meetings between county specialists, construction experts, and FEMA's cost estimators are slated to take place over the next week.

Middleburgh's Turtle Rock is No More

Written By Editor on 6/12/14 | 6/12/14

The former Turtle Rock Cafe, once a popular restaurant and ice cream shop, was torn down earlier today. The building, purchased by the Town of Middleburgh through the FEMA buyout withstood terrible damage in 2011's flooding.

Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
The Town is in discussions to possibly turn the area into a park and ride.

More buildings around the County are set to be demolished in the coming months.

Gillibrand Joins Growing Chorus in Support of Relocating Schoharie Jail

Written By Editor on 3/5/14 | 3/5/14

United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has become the latest member of Schoharie County's state and federal delegation to support the county's ongoing appeal to FEMA representatives in an attempt to relocate the Public Safety Facility and jail outside of the floodplain. She joins senior Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Gibson's earlier calls. 

In a letter addressed to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in late February, Mrs. Gillibrand expressed her concerns that, "rebuilding the facility in the same location exposes the County to potential future damage due to severe storms and flooding." She would go on to point out that the, "structure has been damaged by floodwaters three times in the last 20 years."

Schoharie County officials appealed FEMA's earlier decision to deny relocation of the county jail after the agency justified their refusal by arguing that, one - state funds would be used during the course of the project in direct conflict with federal regulation, and two - the county could not add mitigation costs to construction figures to overcome FEMA's 50/50 rule. 

In her written appeal to Mr. Fugate, Senator Gillibrand stated that she believed that a, "future flood could have a larger impact on the County's emergency preparedness as the County would have to evacuate all inmates and interrupt their emergency operations." Alluding to the county's proposed alternative, Gillibrand renewed her call that, "FEMA consider the appeal from Schoharie County."

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