State lawmakers crafting Lake Ontario flood relief bill

May 17, 2017

As water levels on Lake Ontario continue to rise, state lawmakers are working on financial assistance to homeowners still assessing flood damage.

Water levels on Lake Ontario are up more than a foot since May 1 and are the highest they have been since at least 1918, when the U.S. and Canada started keeping joint records. However, lake levels have yet to peak.

State legislators are now drafting a bill to provide financial assistance or tax relief for residents and businesses that have sustained flood damage. That would be welcome news for Sandy Creek resident Carol Ruby who came to one of New York state's mobile flood insurance assistance command centers Monday.

"Right now, I have just lost shoreline - a lot of it," Ruby said. "I am worried about a shed. My boat hoist is on its way out in the water."

But another business owner dealing with several inches of standing water throughout her office building and along her property said the legislation can go only so far.

"You can’t make up the income once it’s lost," said marina owner Cathy Goodnough. "This is going to be a major hit for everybody."

The New York State Senate recently passed a bill to expedite emergency funding for municipalities that have sustained water infrastructure damage. It is awaiting action in the Assembly.