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Cuomo Says State to Cover Irene Storm Damage Costs

ALBANY, N.Y. – Westchester County will receive nearly $2.4 million to help offset costs incurred by municipalities in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday afternoon.

“We were very pleased to hear that the county government, municipalities, school districts and non-profits that were hit by the storm will be reimbursed,” said Donna Greene, spokesperson for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually covers 75 percent of eligible disaster response and recovery costs, and the remaining 25 percent is typically shared equally between the state and municipalities, a 12.5 percent split.

Cuomo’s announcement Wednesday means the 12.5 percent typically covered by municipalities or counties will also be covered by the state, meaning eligible expenses will be completely reimbursed.

"Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee devastated parts of the state and this money is to make sure localities are not hit with a one–two punch as they get back on their feet," Cuomo said in a release Wednesday afternoon. "After these storms swept through the state, New Yorkers were the first to pitch in to help their neighbors and now, by covering local costs, the state is doing its part to help local governments rebuild and recover."

Throughout the Hudson Valley an additional $14 million in state aid will be distributed to five counties, Putnam, Orange, Rockland, Dutchess and Westchester. The cleanup from both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is expected to cost $1.6 billion statewide and involve 15,000 separate response and recovery projects, according to the release.

U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) was quoted in the release as saying, "Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused severe damage to Westchester and Rockland County homes, businesses and infrastructure. As local governments across our state face serious financial strain, it is great news that New York State will cover the counties’ costs related to emergency shelter, road, water system and infrastructure repair, stream and riverbed mitigation, and other clean-up projects.”

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