Flood costs could
exceed town budgets
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The flooding that occurred in Gilbertsville, Morris and Pittsfield on Saturday, July 17, is expected to cost millions and elected officials are calling for federal and state funding to pay for some of the damages.
State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, estimated that the amount of money needed for the flood damage in Butternuts and Morris would far exceed their total respective town budgets.
“After what I’ve seen, it would be conservative (that damages) would cost at least their budgets and then some,” Oberacker said.
Oberacker toured the area Monday, July 19, and called it “absolutely devastating.”
“Thank God there haven’t been any fatalities,” Oberacker said. “It’s mind boggling that there wasn’t.”
During his tour, Oberacker said he saw tons of property damage, including water and sediment up to the fourth step of a house. He also spoke with some of the landowners and homeowners in the area.
Oberacker said he and Assemblyman Joe Angelino, R-Norwich, plan on drafting a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo inviting him to “come and see the devastation” and begin the process of declaring the area a disaster zone.
He said because of the “renewed focus” on infrastructure he hoped the state would take a look at fixing more of the infrastructure in the Butternut Valley, including significant damage to some of the bridges on state Route 51.
Shelby Wing, Pittsfield town supervisor, said there was “extensive damage” to Cobb Road and Hawks Road and they could be closed for awhile.
Wing said while cleanup crews were making “good progress,” they were somewhat limited because of how small the town is. She said federal and state aid would be a “huge thing for a town like us.”
“Crews have done a very good job getting everything up and running,” Wing said. “It’s gonna be a busy summer for them.”