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Cuomo announces state aid for Mohawk Valley flood victims

New York National Guard/flickr

New York state is stepping in where the federal government has not. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would come up with $16 million for people affected by the recent floods that ravaged the Mohawk Valley and other parts of New York state.

Cuomo told local officials at Herkimer County Community College that the state will fill the gap using federal rules to offer cash from state coffers to flood victims.

"The state is going to fund what the federal government should have funded in my opinion," Cuomo said. "The state is going to fund individual assistance to the homeowners that were damaged and lost their homes. We're going to fund at the guidelines that the federal government would have funded at, for people who have damaged homes."

The governor says among other things, the aid will allow people to sell their homes.

"Some people want a buyout and they don't want to go back to that home because maybe it's flooded several times," Cuomo said. "The state will pay 100 percent of the market value of that house before the flood."

There will also be funds to help small business owners and farmers affected by the high waters. Surveys show more than 500 homes suffered some kind of damage with dozens destroyed. Cuomo took on the role of cheerleader in his comments.

"I believe we're not just going to rebuild what was before, but we're going to build it back better than it ever was before. And that's what this funding gives us an opportunity to do."

Niagara, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida and Herkimer counties will split the cash.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.