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Big state role in storm cleanup

Water runs through Rob Breen’s property in Clarksville during Tropical Storm Irene. Breen has helped to organize a community meeting Nov. 30 for area residents interested in discussing flooding concerns.

Water runs through Rob Breen’s property in Clarksville during Tropical Storm Irene. Breen has helped to organize a community meeting Nov. 30 for area residents interested in discussing flooding concerns.

Equally as important, according to Messina, is work that needs to be done along the Onesquethaw Creek in South Bethlehem. Those include damage to the Onesquethaw Bridge and the need to address significant erosion along the creek.

Messina said that the costs of these projects will exceed $3.5 million, with cumulative costs exceeding $4.6 million. The town is banking on FEMA to cover 75 percent of the costs and on the state to cover 12.5 percent, with the rest of the repairs funded by the town.

So far, Messina said the town has spent about $1.1 million on projects and manpower costs related to the storms, including outside contractors and engineers.

Bethlehem Public Works Commissioner Erik Deyoe has said he plans to update the Town Board in December on the costs of Irene and Lee damage.

“From an engineer perspective, we’ve got a lot of stuff in the works that’s in the process of design,” said Deyoe.

In addition to the municipal funds, Governor Cuomo recently announced that $3 million would be made available for businesses in some of the hardest hit areas in the state. Another $5 million was dedicated for furnace repairs and replacements in 34 counties, including Albany County.

“We’ve been communicating a lot to our staff, our residents and businesses about opportunities,” said Messina. “There must be 50 or 75 emails and postings on the town’s website that we’ve made.”

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