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On August 30, national Guard troops cleared power lines and debris around a ruined home in the town of Jay. (Photo: Brian Mann)
On August 30, national Guard troops cleared power lines and debris around a ruined home in the town of Jay. (Photo: Brian Mann)

Jay searches for ways to finance post-Irene recovery

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Flooding triggered by Tropical Storm Irene may force Essex County to borrow money to make it through the end of this year. Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas chairs the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

Douglas said he couldn't put a dollar figure on the total damages to county infrastructure. But he said individual projects relating to Irene will cost towns in the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

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"Today we have engineers looking at the river crossing in Au Sable Forks – that one crossing, that provides water for the towns of Black Brook, Jay and AuSable Forks is going to cost $350,000,” Douglas said. “Those are things that people don’t budget for, that municipalities don’t budget for. Those are long range planning things and you try and get state and federal aid.”

Douglas has been opposed to overriding the state’s new 2 percent cap on property tax growth. But flood damage may change his mind about an override to cover NEXT year’s budget.

"We were working on town and county budgets trying to see how we could fit into the cap, and unfortunately it was going to mean cutting services that people rely on heavily.”

Douglas said the county is still putting cost estimates together, and that people should “stay tuned” to see what’s going to happen ultimately.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the property tax law has a built-in relief valve if communities need to raise additional revenue for flood-related costs. An override needs approval by 60 percent of voters.

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