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$90M flood relief bill approved in Assembly

Great Lakes Today's Veronica Volk

Two area state lawmakers say they have reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to provide $90 million in financial relief for people living along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River seaway.

State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle of Irondequoit, a Democrat, and State Sen. Pam Helming of Canandaigua, a Republican, say the package includes $15 million for residential property owners, $25 million for small businesses, farms and some other categories and $25 million for municipalities.

The legislation also provides funding for flood control projects and some money for people in Monroe County who had property damaged in a windstorm.

"As rising water levels continue to threaten the safety and livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers, we must intervene and provide resources to support these communities," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, upon passage in the Assembly. "This support package will help homeowners and businesses affected by this crisis to recover from the damages and protect their financial well-being."

The lawmakers say this bill is modeled after grant programs implemented in the wake of various storms such as Sandy, Irene and Lee.

"This state of emergency has gone on for too long and I am hopeful that the measure will be signed into law so that we can provide over $90 million in much-needed relief to property owners, businesses and municipalities," said Lockport Assemblymember Mike Norris, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Record-high water levels on Lake Ontario and the Seaway have contributed to damage along the shoreline in recent weeks. Governor Cuomo has been to the region on a few occasions recently announcing relief packages for homeowners and municipalities.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.