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Cuomo offers more state aid for lakeshore property owners

Randy Gorbman
WXXI News File Photo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in front of the house of Joe and Charlie Burgio in the community of Greece, along the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo went to the town of Greece on the the southern shoreline of Lake Ontario -- one of the areas that has been hardest hit by the recent flooding.

Cuomo came to the home of Joe and Charlie Burgio, one of the many houses where water has poured over decks, washed out docks and caused basement flooding.

Cuomo announced new funding of $7 million dollars to help homeowners.

“To reimburse them for damage to their homes, up to $40,000 per home, depending on the income level. This is for foundation work, deck work, basement work, etc.,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also signed a bill that will fast-track emergency funding to municipalities for water infrastructure, such as the problems that have occurred along Lake Ontario.

And the governor also directed the New York State Parks Department to implement a 5 mile per hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and Saint Lawrence River shoreline, in an effort to reduce the impact of wave action on shoreline properties.

The governor previously pledged $10 million in state aid for eligible municipalities and up to $5 million in grants for small businesses.

Cuomo got cheers from the crowd of homeowners who came to see his news conference when he criticized actions taken by the International Joint Commission, which tries to regulate the lake level.

“I understand that they have a lot of concerns that they have to deal with and they’re dealing with Canada and Montreal, and St. Lawrence (River). I represent the people of the state of New York, and the people of the state of New York are getting the short end of the stick, right, and their homes are getting flooded,” the governor said.

Officials with the IJC have maintained that the flooding this spring was due to an unusual amount of rainfall, not recent changes made in the way the lake level is regulated.

Charlie Burgio says she's not getting much sleep these days keeping an eye on three pumps used to keep the water from overwhelming her house.

“I have the pumps here, so I have to get up every three hours, and rotate them, because I don’t want them to burn out,” Burgio said.

But she says people in that area are working together.

“So I don’t know what we’re going to do, I’m determined that I’m not going to let this get me. And my neighbors are great, we help each other.”

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.