Tonawanda News

July 25, 2013

Flood help deadline today

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt on Wednesday encouraged residents who incurred damage during Friday’s storm to visit a New York State assessment team situated in Niagara Falls. 

Ortt said he was irked by a lack of information that he believes should have been provided to residents across the region regarding their eligibility to visit officials from the state Department of Financial Services Insurance Division, who set up a mobile command center at Niagara Falls City Hall this week and are collecting data from residents who may be able to receive financial compensation. The unit will be on site through Thursday evening. 

The mayor said those who visit the site and provide information to the damage assessment team may be able to retrieve funding at a future date as the state continues to analyze the extent of the damage across the region. 

He said it appeared the option to file information with the state appeared to be geared specifically to Niagara Falls residents, who were also hit hard by the storm, though after some legwork he was able to clear up what he deemed a lack of information. 

“It is not only for Niagara Falls residents and I was upset that more people outside the City of Niagara Falls who were affected by the storm were not made aware that these folks from the state would be available,” he said. 

While financial compensation is not a guarantee, the information gathered could lead to future funding for those who lost items from homes or businesses damaged from wind or flooding. 

Ortt added that those who suffered property damage from the storm should first contact their insurance providers to make a claim.

“Even if the claim is denied residents will need a claim number to initiate the next step in the assistance process, should we get to that point” he said. “I have requested emergency assistance from (Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s) office due to the number of residents who sustained significant property damage as a result of the thunderstorm this past Friday.” 

In the meantime, North Tonawanda Department of Public Works crews will continue picking up bulk items into early next week, including brush, tree limbs, household wares and furniture that may damaged due to flooding. 

The address for Niagara Falls City Hall is 745 Main Street. State teams will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.