Saratoga County

Many hands aid Waterford in recovery from floods

The village of Waterford has issued more than 40 building permits to residents whose homes were dama

The village of Waterford has issued more than 40 building permits to residents whose homes were damaged by flooding from tropical storms Irene and Lee.

“We waived the permit fees,” said Mayor J. Bert Mahoney.

The worst flooding the village has seen in 70 years sent the Hudson River over its banks and water into people’s living rooms, kitchens, and basements Aug. 29, Mahoney said.

The building permits are required where structural repairs, electrical system repairs and other major repairs are being done by homeowners. The flood-damaged homes are on Front, First, South and Second streets and Parker Lane.

For the past few weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has had a recovery center set up in the F.B. Peck Hose Co. on Saratoga Avenue, where village residents whose homes had been damaged could apply for grants and loans. This center will close later today.

“We worked closely with the state and local communities to make sure all their needs are met,” said Chris McKniff, a FEMA spokesman.

McKniff said 81 people were seen at the recovery center.

“They have been very helpful,” Mahoney said about recovery center staff. He said FEMA has a representative at the center and state and other federal agencies also have representatives there to help people.

FEMA is also closing recovery centers in Albany and Warren counties today, but recovery centers in Schenectady, Schoharie and Montgomery counties will remain open until further notice.

The FEMA recovery center in the Rotterdam Square mall in Schenectady County has seen 2,412 people with flood damage, McKniff said. He said people with questions or concerns from Saratoga County can come to recovery centers elsewhere in the region after their local center has closed.

FEMA had 41 recovery centers in operation across New York state after the storm. A total of 10,213 flood victims sought help at these centers, McKniff said.

Mahoney said local churches have been very helpful to the flood victims, as well, raising money and collecting food and clothing for those who lost their personal belongings in the floods.

Mahoney said flooding from Tropical Storm Irene was the worst, but Tropical Storm Lee, coming a week later, also damaged some homes with its high waters going over the banks of the Hudson.

National Grid came through the village after the high water events and replaced every gas meter that had been underwater, Mahoney said.

FEMA provides people with grant money for temporary housing and simple home repairs that will allow them to get back into their homes. McKniff called this “quick money up front to get you back onto your feet.”

In Saratoga County so far, FEMA has distributed $819,000 in grant money to 351 applicants, McKniff said.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, which has staff at the recovery centers, offers low-interest loans to people who are completely rebuilding their flood-damaged homes.

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