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.
By KEVIN LIMITI and GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were on the scene in southwestern Otsego County on Sunday, July 18, to assess flooding Saturday, July 17, in the villages of Morris and Gilbertsville and the towns of Morris and Butternuts.
According to Rep. Michelle Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield, the cost of the damage is expected to be in the millions, particularly with the damage to one of the bridges on state Route 51.
Heavy rains Saturday night caused the Butternut Creek and several of its tributaries to flood, first around Gilbertsville, and later in Morris south of the Otsego County Fairgrounds. An eyewitness account said the floodwaters in Gilbertsville at about 8:30 p.m., Saturday, were “like a waterfall coming down the hill.”
The floods stuck Morris a few minutes later, after a wash of flood debris clogged the culverts around the fairground, which were put in after the massive 2006 floods. The debris rendered the improvements useless and many of the same areas that flooded in 2006 got reflooded.
According to a press release, Soto had been driving his 2000 Daewoo Lanos northbound on the roadway when he lost control, for an unknown reason, and struck a tree on the west shoulder. He was found deceased in the driver’s seat with his seat belt on.