Authorizes the use of surplus funds from the greater Catskills flood remediation program by Ulster county.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend section 3 of part NN of chapter 57 of the laws of 2008 relating to authorizing the New York state mortgage agency to transfer certain moneys, in relation to the use of surplus funds from the greater Catskills flood remediation program
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To authorize the purchase of homes near the New York City aqueducts which are susceptible to flooding or water infiltration near the leaking New York City owned aqueduct in Ulster County near the Rondout Reservoir and, if funds are leftover, other flooded properties in Ulster County.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Authorizes the use of remaining funds from the Greater Catskills Flood remediation program (of which there are currently approximately $4 million in unused funds) to purchase homes within two miles of the New York City Aqueducts in the County of Ulster. The homes must be subject to water seepage and be under $250,000 in fair market value. If there are any remaining funds after purchase of those homes, the remaining funding may be utilized to purchase other flood prone homes in Ulster County.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: The Catskills have been subject to substantial flooding over the last several years. While various persons blame other persons for the action, the reality is year in and year out, families were being victimized by the flooding and lives were being lost. The Legislature enacted the Greater Catskills Flood Remediation Program which allocated $15 million to purchase homes where the owner was subject to flooding. The time to apply for that funding and meet the guidelines has expired. Dozens of homes have been bought out or are under contract and expected to be bought out. There remains approximately $4 million from the program available. The legislation would reallocate that funding to Ulster County to purchase homes which experience seepage near the leaking New York City aqueducts. If there are any remaining funds after purchase of those homes, the remaining funding may be utilized to purchase other flood prone homes in Ulster County. Ulster County had received an initial allocation of $2 million of the $15 million and those funds were expended, with demand still existing for more flood buyout funds.
JUSTIFICATION: Families in Wawarsing who live near the leaking New York City aqueduct have seen substantial seepage into their basements. Families have blamed the City of New York for that seepage due to the leaking aqueduct. The City acknowledges that millions of gallons per day leak from its aqueducts. While the City is taking steps to repair the aqueducts, the repairs, if ever done, are not expected to take place for years.
The DEP has done testing in terms of shutting off the water supply in the aqueduct and a correlation has been shown that water rises and
falls when the water in the tunnel is or is not flowing. Still, despite the correlation, other factors are also pointed to as a potential culprit of the seepage. City officials have advised Wawarsing area residents that they may file claims with the City Comptroller's office - a timely and costly proceeding. The reality is that litigating against the City is a substantial if not overwhelming task for a homeowner, particularly when it comes to proving cause and effect of leakage of an aqueduct hundreds of feet below the ground.
During the past two years, City DEP staff have become substantially more engaged with watershed residents to try and study the issue. However, the long term solution put forth by the DEP will leave the impacted families in Wawarsing in harms way for years to come.
The City of New York has previously indicated their support for State flood buyout funds for families living near the aqueduct in Wawarsing. This legislation seeks to put the question of whether or not the City is actually responsible for the seepage aside, and use the surplus funds from the Greater Cats kills Flood remediation program to buyout property owners who live near the leaking aqueduct, and who wish to sell their land. It does not seek to cast blame on any individual, but rather offers a reasonable solution to an ongoing problem that is damaging relationships between watershed communities and upstate - and more importantly, is hurting people.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.6276 of 2009 was a similar bill passed Senate, Died in Assembly Housing Committee. The difference between this bill and S.6276/2009 is that this bill authorizes any remaining funds, after the families near the leaking aqueduct have an opportunity to have their homes purchased, to be allocated to other flood prone properties in the remainder of Ulster County. The prior bill did not authorize the remaining funds to be used for other flood prone properties.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: No new funds are utilized. Rather, existing funds are being redistributed since not all funds have been used.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3508 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 24, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. BONACIC -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend section 3 of part NN of chapter 57 of the laws of 2008 relating to authorizing the New York state mortgage agency to transfer certain moneys, in relation to the use of surplus funds from the greater Catskills flood remediation program THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3 of part NN of chapter 57 of the laws of 2008 relating to authorizing the New York state mortgage agency to transfer certain moneys, as amended by section 1 of part B of chapter 2 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: S 3. (A) Within the amounts transferred to the corporation pursuant to section one of this act for the greater Catskills flood remediation program, the corporation shall provide funds to the counties of Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster, upon application by a county and within the amounts available for disbursement to such county, to enable the coun- ties to purchase and demolish one or two family homes that have been certified by the local building inspector and county emergency manage- ment director, to the satisfaction of the corporation, as having been subject to one or more incidents of flooding since April 1, 2004 and as likely to be subject to a future flood incident that would cause substantial damage thereto. Any application by a county for disbursement of funds under this act shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the corporation, that: (1) the home is occupied as the primary residence of an owner with a family income of up to one hundred fifty percent of the area median income as defined by the United States department of housing and urban development, provided, however, that an otherwise eligible home shall be eligible for purchase under this act if the current owner can demonstrate that the home was occupied as the owner's primary resi-EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01907-02-1 S. 3508 2
dence prior to a flood event that rendered the home unsuitable for habi- tation; (2) the current appraised value of the home does not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars and the purchase price for the home will not exceed the appraised value less the amount of any property casualty insurance or disaster relief payments received by the owner as compen- sation for damage incurred in a flood incident; (3) all recorded liens or other encumbrances on the home will be released at closing; (4) the county provides assurances that the home will be condemned and the prop- erty will be dedicated and maintained in perpetuity for a use that is compatible with open space, recreational, flood mitigation or wetlands management practices; and (5) disbursements under this section shall be limited to the costs of acquisition of eligible homes, including legal, appraisal, recording and other transaction costs, and the costs of demo- lition. In selecting homes for purchase pursuant to this act, each county shall give preference to homes with a current appraised value of less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars and to homes that have been subject to two or more incidents of flooding since April 1, 2004. The corporation shall establish policies and procedures consistent with this section, which shall include county reporting requirements, and shall report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly, the temporary pres- ident of the senate and the director of the division of the budget on or before December 31, 2008 regarding the implementation of this section. Of the amounts transferred to the corporation pursuant to section one of this act, the amounts disbursed to counties pursuant to this section shall not exceed the following amounts: Broome, $750,000; Chenango, $750,000; Delaware, $2,000,000; Herkimer, $750,000; Montgomery, $750,000; Orange, $2,000,000; Otsego, $750,000; Schoharie, $750,000; Sullivan, $3,750,000; Tioga, $750,000; and Ulster, $2,000,000. (B) ANY FUNDS NOT UNDER CONTRACT OR GRANT AGREEMENT BETWEEN ANY COUNTY PROVIDED FOR BY THIS SECTION AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK OR ANY OF ITS DIVISIONS OR AGENCIES ON OR BY JANUARY 1, 2010 MAY BE USED, UPON A FIND- ING BY THE CORPORATION THAT SUCH FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE, BY ULSTER COUNTY, WHETHER THE FUNDS ARE ALLOCATED TO SUCH COUNTY OR TO ANOTHER COUNTY UNDER THIS PROGRAM, TO PURCHASE HOMES WHICH OTHERWISE MEET THE REQUIRE- MENTS OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS SECTION AND ARE IN ULSTER COUNTY, AND/OR OTHERWISE PURCHASE HOMES WHICH ARE VALUED AT UNDER $250,000 UPON A FINDING BY THE CORPORATION THAT: (1) THE HOMES HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SEEPAGE OF WATER INTO THE HOMES EITHER THROUGH THE WALLS OR FOUNDATION OF SUCH HOME OR WATER OTHERWISE ENTERS INTO THE HOME OTHER THAN THROUGH PIPES INTENDED FOR SUCH PURPOSE AND (2) THE HOME IS SITUATED WITHIN TWO MILES OF AN UNDERGROUND AQUEDUCT OWNED, MAINTAINED OR OPERATED BY THE CITY OF NEW YORK OR ANY BOARD, AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU THEREOF AND IS USED FOR THE TRANSPORT OF DRINKING WATER TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK. THE REQUIREMENTS ENUMERATED IN PARAGRAPHS ONE THROUGH FIVE OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS SECTION SHALL APPLY, PROVIDED, HOWEVER THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH ONE OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS SECTION, NO PERSON OR PERSONS WHO OTHERWISE MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBDIVI- SION SHALL BE EXCLUDED ON THE BASIS OF INCOME AND IT IS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT THE COSTS OF DEMOLITION OF ANY HOME PURCHASED THROUGH THIS SECTION ARE AN ELIGIBLE COST. IN MAKING DETERMINATIONS OF WHICH HOMES TO PURCHASE, THE COUNTY SHALL FIRST SEEK TO EXPEND FUNDS TO PURCHASE THOSE HOMES WHICH MEET THE REQUIREMENTS ENUMERATED IN PARAGRAPHS ONE AND TWO OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.