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Flooding: Greenburgh Now Eligible For FEMA Grants

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Greenburgh is now eligible for federal funds to mitigate the effects of the frequent flooding in the town, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state accepted the hazardous mitigation plan the town submitted in June, town officials said.

The plan’s approval allows the town access to FEMA grant money, but the town and its villages still have to formally adopt the plan through a board resolution.

Jonathan Raser, a consultant from Tetra Tech EM Inc. who helped the town prepare the plan, urged the town board to adopt it as soon as possible.

“I implore the town to do that,” he said during Tuesday morning's town board work session.

Raser was invited to the work session to explain the grant process to residents, in particular those who live in the areas affected by the recent floods, such as Babbitt Court, Route 9A, Old Kensico Road and East Hartsdale Avenue. During the last few town board meetings, many of these residents flocked to the Town Hall auditorium.

FEMA will pay for drainage improvements, mitigation projects on private property, such as houses elevation, and buyouts, but not for bigger projects, Raser said.

“They can’t do large control processes,” he said.

Residents and town officials posed questions that ranged from details about buyouts and house elevation to the grant limits and how the funds will be distributed.

Raser explained that FEMA will give priority to properties that get “constantly, repeatedly damaged” and will look for the “most effective solution” and determine, “what will avoid the longest term loss for that property.”

He added that the town should seek common solutions for residents of a particular area or who share the same problems, and combine the grant applications.

“It’s easy to administer two grants than to administer 30,” he said. “It’s clear that a holistic solution for the flood problem would be more effective than going structure by structure.”

According to Raser, the town’s main role in the process will be to learn about the grant programs and help residents through them, without raising false hopes.

“They are not perfect programs,” he said.

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner suggested starting with one or two sections of the town to evaluate the grant process and, if it works, “move ahead with all other neighborhoods.”

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