Congressman Paul Tonko hosted a "town hall" style meeting at the Rotterdam Junction Fire Department on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with residents often sharing heated comments. Tonko addressed concerns well after sunset, as seen through a window on one of the department's garage doors.
Photo by John Purcell.
continued She said without greater help on demolition expenses she’s concerned people might walk away from their properties, which would turn them into “bug, disease infested properties.” Also, lowering of property values for those not displaced was a concern.
Federal Emergency Management Agency representative Dave Stuflick explained FEMA doesn’t demolish houses or directly provide funding for demolitions. The money given by FEMA can be used to repair or replace a home, but he said how the money is used by a recipient is up to the individual.
“It will not probably cover the demolition of your home,” said Stuflick. “We don’t get into the demolition, we leave it up to you to determine how you want to distribute that money.
Nilsen said she understood FEMA couldn’t help out any further, but she asked if there was anything Rotterdam or Schenectady County officials could do to help.
Jaclyn Agostino, assistant to the Schenectady County manager, said the county hasn’t developed a plan on how to do demolitions, but she thought it would be best to work in cooperation with the town. Rotterdam Supervisor Frank DelGallo said there is $100,000 available in the budget to be used for demolitions, but it won’t “go very far.”
Going a different route, Dan Hladik, of Isabella Street, asked about the possibility of a buyout on properties. He said there are several people from his street that don’t know what to do.
Typically, said Stuflick, a municipality will buy the property, demolish the building and turn the land into open space. He said FEMA assists in funding the buyout, but doesn’t facilitate it; federal funding would usually cover 75 percent of the expenses.
“The ball starts rolling at the community,” Stuflick said about the buyout. “The community then has to assess what it wants to do.”
“This is a gathering of community leaders. Who is going to stand up and take charge of everything?” Hladik replied