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Lawmaker proposes plan for flood relief in Tompkins, Cortland counties

State Department of Transportation crews work to clear debris along Route 327 near the Town of Enfield, Friday, August 9, 2013./Pete Blanchard

Lawmaker proposes plan for flood relief in Tompkins, Cortland counties

Local communities are still recovering from summer floods that caused hundreds of thousands dollars in damages to roads, homes and bridges in Tompkins and Cortland counties.

Despite seeking federal assistance from FEMA, area lawmakers have come up short.

A local politician has unveiled a plan to help our region prepare for future natural disasters.

Appearing in Cortland County Thursday, State Senator James Seward detailed a 6-point program that would have the state and local municipalities work together to better respond to flooding.

Seward said there is no question that there has been a change in weather patterns, both in the frequency and severity of floods in the region.

“Let’s be ready for the next massive weather event,” Seward said. “Even though we cannot control mother nature, we can take steps to prevent and avoid damage from future floods.”

Seward said the state must better prepare for future natural disasters by constructing better protections for homes, businesses, and public infrastructure.

His proposal would create a legislative relief fund that would assist New York property owners when they are denied federal assistance from FEMA.

He says he and other state lawmakers plan to introduce the proposal at the start of the 2014 legislative session in January.

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