Assemblyman Schmitt Joins Local Officials Calling For Federal Major Disaster Declaration

Washingtonville Assemblyman Colin Schmitt held a press conference today with local officials and community members calling for all counties in the Hudson Valley impacted by Hurricane Ida to be added to the federal major disaster declaration. Categories of disaster extent will determine the amount of funding that municipalities in Orange County receive to cover the damages. Hurricane Ida caused substantial damage to many roads, bridges, local businesses, and residential homes throughout the Hudson Valley. On Wednesday, Schmitt held his press conference at the Bull Road Bridge in Washingtonville that was washed away by the storm highlighting the extensive damage and potential for future risk from weather-related disaster events. Three bridges collapsed in Blooming Grove

Orange, Rockland, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties were included initially in the request from Governor Hochul and the State for a FEMA Major Disaster Designation but was left off of the official Declaration that was issued by President Biden and FEMA on September 6th. Local governments are hoping that when the amount of damages in Orange County is tallied up it will be added to the major disaster designation list.  Dozens of homes were either destroyed or seriously damaged. Schmitt addedToday, we are calling for the immediate inclusion of all counties in the Hudson Valley impacted by Hurricane Ida to be added to the federal major disaster declaration. It must be done with urgency and should not be delayed any further.”

Blooming Grove Supervisor Rob Jeroloman stated, “Just like in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, we need to be included in the major disaster declaration. Now that the storm is gone and the skies are blue, we need to make permanent repairs to these roads and our infrastructure. Once the skies cleared and the flooding subsided, the burden for funding these repairs is now placed on the municipality and on our homeowners.” Washingtonville Mayor Joseph Bucco stated, “Each day that I come to this location, there is something else that needs to be done to repair our broken infrastructure. I know that Assemblyman Schmitt will come up with a solution that everyone will be happy with and believe we need immediate inclusion in the federal declaration.” Sara Bayne, a local Cornwall resident stated, “As a local homeowner, community member, nurse, and mother, this natural disaster has been devastating. My home was flooded, our driveway tore apart, and the property was damaged which has resulted in significant unexpected costs, as well as damage to our neighbors’ homes. A bridge right across from our driveway was washed out in the storm which caused the flooding and resulted in a car crash exposing the main gas line that leads to West Point. If the car had crashed any closer to the pipe, who knows what kind of damage could have occurred or the deadly consequences of it exploding so close to residential homes. We need federal assistance, not only for our current damages but to prevent future damages by building these bridges stronger and better so that we can rest easy the next time a storm comes through our area.” Town of New Windsor Councilman Steve Bedetti stated, “The Hudson Valley was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Ida and its aftermath has been nothing less than devastating for municipalities across our region. I want to thank Assemblyman Schmitt for fighting this fight with all of us, pushing for our inclusion in the FEMA major disaster declaration. We need funding and relief not only to repair damages but prevent future hardship through preventative repairs that will protect our vulnerable infrastructure from damages moving forward. All residents impacted should call New Windsor Town Hall and the Supervisor’s office so your damage can be tracked to push for additional assistance. Town of New Windsor Councilman Steve Moreau stated. “Thank you Assemblyman Schmitt for bringing us all together to shine a light on such an important issue, designating Orange County and the rest of the Hudson Valley in the FEMA disaster declaration. Not only were our roads and bridges severely impacted by Hurricane Ida, but homeowners and local business owners that have already been struggling from the pandemic are now left with the bill to fix damages outside of their control from this storm. Relief is imperative right now for our communities.” Orange County Legislator Kathy Stegenga stated, “It is a disgrace that Orange County has not been included in the federal major disaster declaration. I stand firmly with Assemblyman Schmitt and our other local elected officials in calling for our immediate inclusion so that we can get our roads and bridges fixed and so that homeowners and local business owners are not left with the bill to fix a situation out of their control. We need permanent repairs and mitigation efforts across the Hudson Valley to prevent an event like this devastating our community in the future.” Town of Chester Councilman Bob Courtenay stated, “Orange County and the Hudson Valley saw devastating consequences and damage to our local infrastructure and to local residents’ homes and businesses during and following Hurricane Ida. Without federal relief and funding to repair our critical infrastructure, homes, and businesses, our local governments, homeowners, and business owners will be left to pay for it all on the local taxpayers’ backs. Thanks go to Assemblyman Schmitt for his tireless work to make sure Orange County and the Hudson Valley are never left behind.”

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