UPDATE: Putnam gets disaster declaration
UPDATE: Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea said Friday that FEMA has also committed to placing an assistance center within Philipstown. The center will be in self-contained trailers.
Its location is not set yet, but one possible site is the North Highlands firehouse. FEMA has also begun doing damage assessments throughout the town. Shea said the center's presence should speed and simplify dispensing help and info to town residents, the worst hit in Putnam by the Irene impact.
FEMA has finally acknowledged what Philipstown residents already knew -- the damage in Putnam County is substantial and deep from Hurricane Irene, beyond the normal ability of residents and local government to repair.
FEMA declared the county a disaster area on Thursday, and the county is now eligible for both individual and municipal assistance, Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea said Thursday night.
Those wish to file a claim should contact either the town or FEMA. More details on that were presented in the workshop outlined below.
Earlier story, from 09-08-11:
The Town of Philipstown hosted an informational Town Board workshop on Wednesday night for members of the community who have experienced flood, wind, or other damage to their homes and businesses as a result of Hurricane Irene.
About 75 people packed the Town Hall courtroom to hear Supervisor Richard Shea and the full town board, along with Putnam Director of Emergency Management Thomas Lannon, who offered useful advice to property owners about how to go about applying for both Individual Assistance and Public Assistance—grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) geared towards homeowners and businesses (as well as private nonprofits) respectively. [Visit disasterassistance.gov for more information.]
The catch, of course, is that Putnam County has not yet been included among the counties in New York State that quality for disaster assistance, but starting with both New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and working down through State Senator Greg Ball, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Legislator Vincent Tamagna, and local town and village leaders, everyone in government seems to be advocating on behalf of the county.
Lannon indicated that FEMA is anxious to help homeowners with grant money, and encouraged everyone who has to get work done now to take photographs of the damage and the work being done, to save all receipts and other documentation, and to apply to FEMA for assistance the minute Putnam is declared eligible for assistance. Lannon said he was certain this would happen no later than Friday.
There was significant discussion from the crowd about how to address some of the most serious flood areas in Philipstown, especially some chronically flood-prone sites in Continental Village. There was also some reference made to the Town’s dirt roads, which are most severely affected whenever it rains, and repaired over and over again at taxpayer expense, but Shea said he was unwilling to engage in that discussion right now.
One indication of things to come was Shea’s mention, more than once, of a possible building moratorium in areas that are prone to flooding. See next week’s paper for a detailed report.