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Cuomo: Lake Ontario flooding hasn’t reached threshold for federal aid

Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesman, said the state must show that it’s either met or exceeded the established per capita threshold of $27.7 million. There are additional thresholds for each of the affected counties, including Cayuga.

“We believe these amounts, which haven’t been met, are arbitrary and would gladly accept any help from these congressional representatives in suspending these rules and get federal help now,” Azzopardi said. “In the meantime, state officials are doing everything in their power to help New Yorkers living along the lake protect their homes and property from rising waters.”

Azzopardi added that he’s consulted with state homeland security officials who estimated that the state is “not even halfway” to the thresholds. The four members of Congress U.S. Reps. Chris Collins, John Katko, Elise Stefanik and Claudia Tenney signed a letter that was sent to Cuomo urging him to request the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s assistance. The governor must ask for the aid before President Donald Trump can declare a state of emergency. While the flooding hasn’t reached the levels necessary for federal aid, the state has provided support to the counties along the lake. This week, the state sent a sandbagging machine, 10,000 sandbags and deployed a National Guard unit to assist the village of Fair Haven in northern Cayuga County.

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Some businesses and residential properties have been affected by flooding. Erosion is also a concern.

“Numerous shoreline property owners have invested in break walls surrounding their property that are now sitting far into the lake,” the four representatives wrote. “Homeowners and shoreline property owners are experiencing tens of thousands of dollars in damage, homes have been condemned and there is no relief in sight.”

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board said Thursday that Lake Ontario has reached its highest levels ever[1]. The records on the lake’s water levels date back to 1918.

The lake is at 248.9 feet 33.1 inches above its average level for this time of year.


  1. ^ reached its highest levels ever (

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