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Montgomery County asking for federal aid

September 1, 2011
By JOHN R. BECKER , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Montgomery County representatives are asking for federal aid for individuals and businesses as cleanup from Tropical Storm Irene continues.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency put the county on a list for aid for public facilities, but not for aid for residents and businesses.

Local representatives say the additional aid may come.

Article Photos

The basement of Mark and Doreen Lavigna’s home on Division Street in Amsterdam was filled with water. They lost two freezers full of meat, their washer, dryer, water heater and furnace in the flood.

The Leader-Herald/Barbara Cook

FEMA?is putting the county on a fast track to receive federal aid for public facilities.

County Emergency Management director Dwight Schwabrow said this morning two FEMA representatives are coming to meet with him today.

"When I meet with them, I'm going to take them to the hardest-hit areas of Montgomery County," Schwabrow said.

Those areas include the Schoharie Creek from the Montgomery County line to Fort Hunter, the South Side of the city of Amsterdam and pockets in and around Fonda, he said.

Montgomery County is on the list of 19 counties in the state eligible for public assistance - federal aid to help with repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities, such as municipal buildings. So far, however, Montgomery County is not on the list of eight counties eligible for individual assistance - aid for individuals, families or businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.

Philip Aidinian, a spokesman for Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, said this morning other counties, including Montgomery, may be added to the eight currently designated as eligible for individual assistance aid.

"People may be unnerved when their county is not included on the list of counties eligible for the individual assistance aid," Aidinian said. "The original declaration is a snapshot - guesswork. We don't think these are the only counties that will be included on the eligibility list."

Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski said Schwabrow originally told him all municipalities were to assess and document the storm damage and send the information to Schwabrow's office.

"A private person may have had flooding in a basement or something like that," Rajkowski said. "An agricultural person may have a certain number of acres of hay that can't be used and may have lost X number of dollars because of it."

Rajkowski also said he needs to assess the damage at Mohawk Town Hall, including computers, records and similar items.

"All we're trying to do as town supervisors is to reach out to people who are affected," Rajkowski said. "Once Dwight gets all the information, he will submit it."

John R. Becker covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at



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