YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. — A lakeshore flood warning issued Wednesday threatened to further erode Lake Ontario properties in Niagara and Orleans counties, adding more stress for homeowners already grappling with months of historic water levels.
The National Weather Service's warning, which expires at 2 a.m. Thursday, comes as state lawmakers consider authorizing more relief funds for Lake Ontario property owners. Gov. Cuomo has hinted at the idea of calling lawmakers back for a special session to discuss not only relief funding, but also a few other unrelated issues lingering in Albany.
The governor is reportedly eyeing a $35 million increase in funding to help property owners dealing with erosion on the lake, which would nearly double the original total allocated by the state. He outlined his requests in a letter to state lawmakers, including Senator Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda).
The governor is hinting at a special session to nearly double the state aid for Lake Ontario flood damage. https://t.co/nfb5uswkr4— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewakWGRZ) October 11, 2017
Ortt told 2 On Your Side on Wednesday that he's obviously interested in obtaining as much funding as possible for his constituents on Lake Ontario. However, he pointed out the governor already shot down a proposal in June by the state legislature, which would have allocated $90 million in relief funding.
Ortt said he believes the governor may have the power to increase relief funding without legislative approval. He also said that any special session should deal specifically with Lake Ontario relief, as opposed to combining it with other unrelated proposals.
Homeowners in Youngstown were encouraged to hear the state may increase relief aid. Ray O'Keefe, who has lived here for four decades, said he'll apply for up to $50,000 in funds, which is the limit for residential property owners.
"I know there's a lot of disasters, but this is billions of dollars of real estate all along the shore up here," O'Keefe said. "So it's good to see it being addressed."
Gov. Cuomo has said he wants a deal in place for relief funding before he calls a special session.