The White House has ordered federal assistance directed toward Lake Ontario communities in six New York counties, all affected by high water levels this past spring and summer.
Niagara, Orleans, Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties qualified for aid. Monroe and Cayuga counties were notably absent from a disaster declaration which reimburses local governments.
Rep. Chris Collins, whose 27th District includes the Monroe County town of Hamlin, says Monroe County remains under review and the Republican is working toward a resolution. Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat whose constituents live in Parma, Greece, Irondequoit and Webster, confirms that the county's request is still under consideration.
"They are working very aggressively with Washington since the notice first came out to see what needs to be corrected so that Monroe County and Cayuga County can be added in," said Town Supervisor Bill Reilich, R-Greece, which was badly swamped.
"From our town's perspective, we are going to make sure that the other towns as well as the county will provide whatever information they need so that they can comply and we can be included in this."
Senator Charles Schumer, while calling the announcement a "shot in the arm," vows to keep up the pressure until Monroe and Cayuga are on the list.
The declaration will make federal money available to the state and local governments. State and local leaders had pushed for the federal declaration in hopes of reimbursing some of the costs to those local municipalities.
Those counties under the declaration will be allowed to use the money to reduce future flooding as well. The White House says additional designations may be made at a later date.
The Governor's Office released the following statement on the announcement:
“Today’s declaration is a good first step by the federal government and it will supplement the tens of millions of dollars that New York has already invested in the recovery of the Lake Ontario shoreline. However, there is more work to be done and we will not stop fighting until this declaration is expanded to ensure that Monroe and Cayuga counties receive the assistance they need and deserve.”