Otsego County Rep. Keith McCarty, R-Springfield, the chairman of the county’s Public Works Committee, said the county may have to dip into contingency funds in order to foot the bill for the repair work needed to reopen County Highway 31. Using $500,000 now will just about use up the balance of the existing contingency fund, he said.
The same road experienced a similar cave-in three years ago on a stretch just north of where last Friday’s mudslide took place.
Asked if it was possible that design problems could have contributed to the back-to-back incidents, McCarty said, “Whoever would have thought we’d get 12 inches of rain in one month?”
Even if the federal government agrees to declare the 15 counties eligible for relief, Tiderencel said the federal government will want to ensure that the county first puts its own financial resources into making the repairs.
In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Schumer and Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said the latest flood damage occurred while some regions of New York are still recovering from Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy.
Officials said the counties hardest hit by the rain-driven flooding were Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Montgomery.
Authorities said several volunteer firefighters from Springfield, West Oneonta and Wells Bridge were deployed to Herkimer County to assist the Mohawk Fire Department, which has been working around the clock since that community was hit with flooding.
Meanwhile, Otsego County Highway 11-C in Middlefield remains closed following damage to a bridge there earlier in the year. Tiderencel said the county estimates that project will cost about $1.3 million, a sum that the county expects to be paid by the insurance carrier for the company whose truck hit the bridge.