WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — The Halloween Flood was one of the most divesting floods that to hit Central New York. Residents were displaced, houses were damaged and almost two years, residents are still suffering.
Back in September, former congressman Anthony Brindisi announced that up to 20 million dollars in U.S. Department of Agriculture Funding for Whitestown could be used to help homeowners with buyouts. Now, the funding is up to $28 million.
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) which is a part of the Department of Agriculture, is in the process of helping Whitesboro residents. The program will allow eligible and approved property owners in a defined flood plain area in the Village of Whitesboro to receive a buyout for their home and relocate to an area that is not prone to flooding.
“The town is the project’s sponsor here. We’re the liaison between the NRCS and the applicants. This is a NRCS program. It is their criteria. It is their rules. We are working as quickly as possible but unfortunately and undertaking massive as this one is going to take time.” – Shaun Kaleta, Town of Whitestown Supervisor
About 200 applicants have applied for the program.
“The town and NRCS are just waiting to execute a cooperative agreement which is scheduled to take place at some point this summer. Once the agreement is executed, NRCS will be able to provide the town with funding to start the appraisal process. The appraisals are needed to develop offers to provide to applicants.” -Shaun Kaleta, Town of Whitestown Supervisor
The goal is to provide offers to applicants by the end of the year. Although it is a voluntary program, Kaleta says he is strongly encouraging residents to accept the offers, “It is premature to say how this is all going to work because NRCS needs to see how many folks are going to accept their offers. When somebody accepts their offer, they are going to literally plot that on a map and they are going to plot all the acceptance offers on a map and they are going to see how it works out.”
Kaleta says he understands residents who are anxious and in some cases may have fear because of the unknowns.
“I do know and acknowledge that it is a sellers market but what I can say is that full market values of homes in the project area are higher than what they have been selling for.”
Eyewitness News reached out to the NRCS, we have yet to hear back.