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A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011
A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011

Even with Colton damage, St. Lawrence County says it's not a disaster area

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Just last week, the Federal Government declared 21 New York Counties federal disaster areas, after this spring's flooding. But St. Lawrence county was NOT one of those counties.

Turns out St. Lawrence County wasn't passed over--it hasn't yet applied for aid. County officials aren't confident there's been $336,000 in public infrastructure damage--that's the amount required to qualify for the aid.

Colton has been the most heavily affected community in the county, but most of that damage--about $800,000 in all--was to private homes. Nora Flaherty spoke with Colton Town Supervisor Lawrence Patzwald about where things stand now:

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“We’ve not really been passed over for [aid],” Patzwald said. There’s no point in applying for aid, Patzwald said, if the county did not reach at least $336,000 in flood clean-up.

“The other part of the funding is the individual claims and those are the ones put in by property owners for damage to their property. That decision has not been determined and with talking to the county, it has not been determined for any place in New York state,” he said. “So the potential for getting money there is still there.

“People read the newspaper and said ‘Oh, we have been shut out.’ At this point that isn’t true.

“We were first in line” for flood damage, Patzwald said. “We probably had in excess of $800,000 in property damage. That sounds like a lot but when I think of Joplin, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama, you know, it isn’t much. But it was obviously devastating to the people who were hit here.

“Things are pretty much back to normal… There are places that still have considerably higher water than they would normally have at this time of the year,” he said. “I would hope, for those people who had serious flood damage to their homes in particular, that they would get some kind of assistance to help them get back up and running again.”

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