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New York lawmakers considering Lake Ontario flood relief legislation

Water levels on Lake Ontario are still going up and still have not yet peaked, but property owners already have been assessing the damage. 

At the Greene Point Marina in Sandy Creek, co-owner Cathy Goodnough walks through seven inches of standing water in her office building. She and her sister Cheryl shut down the family resort last week after the waters of Sandy Pond flooded the marina and several mobile homes and campers.

"This is devastating for our park our people not to mention the amount of damage that is going to come from this," Goodnough said.

Between lost income and needed repairs, Goodnough estimates the damages to Greene Point Marina could be in the millions.

"As a business owner, you have lost the whole month of recreational and now it could be two months," Goodnough said. 

Water levels on Lake Ontario are up more than a foot since May 1, and are the highest they've been since at least 1918, when the U.S. and Canada started keeping joint records of lake levels. 

State legislators are drafting a bill to provide financial assistance and or tax relief for residents and businesses that have sustained flood damage. That would be welcome news for Sandy Creek resident Carol Ruby who came to one of New York state's mobile flood insurance assistance command centers in Mexico Monday.

Credit Payne Horning / WRVO News
Sandy Creek resident Carol Ruby visits one of New York state's mobile flood insurance information command centers in Mexico Monday to inquire about the damage to her property from Lake Ontario, which has reached its highest water level since 1918.

"Right now, I have just lost shoreline -- a lot of it," Ruby said. "I am worried about a shed. My boat hoist is on its way out in the water."

Goodnough said she is pleased to hear about the legislation, but notes that it can only go so far. 

"You can’t make up the income once it’s lost," Goodnough said. "The income revenue that Sandy Pond generates brings in money to Oswego County -- this is going to be a major hit for everybody." 

The New York State Senate recently passed a bill to expedite emergency funding for municipalities that have sustained water infrastructure damage. It is awaiting action in the assembly. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.