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Canajoharie, NY ,

Board approves buyout program

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Updated: 10:03 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Tuesday evening, numerous flood affected residents, and one woman from Dolgeville handling the affairs of deceased 34 Abbott St. property owner Ethel Healey, approached the village board, questioning whether they would opt into a state property buyout program.

The board decided to approve the Special Hazard Mitigation Grant program within the community, though board members were short on details. The first necessary step in the process is the board's acceptance. Next, a public hearing will take place to inform not only residents, but officials, about how the mitigation program (funded by FEMA, with money being distributed by New York State) will work.

Trustee Rodney Strait said that the board has brushed up on buyout processes that have taken place in similarly flood affected communities in Dutchess and Ulster counties, though he noted "they're all different."

When questioned whether the board had, at one point, changed their mind and voted not to allow the buyout program to take place in the village, Mayor Guy Barton said, "initially, we got two different stories from two different authorities," explaining that the board was confused until a recent telephone conversation informed them that the buyouts would be 100 percent FEMA funded. The board had previously been informed that buyouts would require a 25 percent match from the village.

The village board members noted that no written application has yet been submitted. "We have only had conversations so far," said Barton, who explained that the future public meeting, which will be advertised in this publication, will likely be held in the evening at the Fort Plain Senior Center.

Andrea Bouck, currently of Clark Ave., formerly of 98 Reid St., stated, "I know a few individuals whose homes were reassessed and they were never contacted," regarding the previously approved program wherein homeowners received tax deductions based upon damage, utilizing last year's tax figures.

She stated that she knows two homeowners who weren't contacted, and two others at the meeting spoke up and informed the board that they hadn't been contacted either.

"People can't fall through the cracks like this," Bouck said. "We've suffered enough."

The board said that questions about the program should be posed to Assessor Robert Harris, who was not present during Tuesday's meeting.


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