Updated 07/30/2012 09:29 PM
Potsdam looks for funds to help with storm damage
It's been almost two weeks since a wind storm in Potsdam tore through the town. And while most of the down trees and debris have been cleaned up, some residents are still affected. Our Cara Thomas caught up with Congressman Bill Owens who was in town and tells us what he had to say about financial assistance for all those affected.
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POTSDAM, N.Y. -- After the storm in Potsdam hit, the community banded together to clean up the mess.
Potsdam's Mayor Steve Yurgartis said, "All kinds of people came out to help. I understand some Amish families actually came into town with their wagons and they were helping people clean up their yards with the trees that were down."
Highway and fire departments cleared the roads of debris within hours and National Grid got all electricity up and running within a few days. But there are two businesses downtown and a few homes that still need repair. The village is working to find options for financial assistance.
"We're trying to still assess what kinds of resources we can bring to bear to help people clean up and get back into business," said Yurgartis.
And they have a few ideas in mind. When Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency on St. Lawrence County, many options opened up. They became eligible to apply for federal funding through FEMA. But Congressman Bill Owens says that idea may be a little out of reach.
Owens said, "The governor has to write a letter to FEMA asking for federal assistance, but there are floors above you must get before you are even eligible."
For other options, county officials say the small business administration is coming to St. Lawrence County on Tuesday. They'll be meeting with local officials to offer low interest loans to help small businesses, home owners, and non-profit organizations recover from any storm damages.
St. Lawrence County's Emergency Services Director, Joe Gilbert, said, "So if any of the above have 40 percent of their damages are not insured, then they might be able to apply for a small business administration low interest loan to help them with the recovery efforts."
Gilbert says Potsdam wasn't the only town affected by the storm. He says there are other places that could also use financial assistance.