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Ti faces expensive flood repairs

Tax cap complicates repairs

Flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene may have a lasting impact on Ticonderoga taxes. The storm caused seven roads and two bridges to be closed Aug. 28, leaving behind an estimated $1 million in damage to local thoroughfares. It also left the Ti town board trying to figure out a way to pay for repairs.

Flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene may have a lasting impact on Ticonderoga taxes. The storm caused seven roads and two bridges to be closed Aug. 28, leaving behind an estimated $1 million in damage to local thoroughfares. It also left the Ti town board trying to figure out a way to pay for repairs. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— Flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene may have a lasting impact on Ticonderoga taxes.

The storm caused seven roads and two bridges to be closed Aug. 28, leaving behind an estimated $1 million in damage to local thoroughfares. It also left the Ti town board trying to figure out a way to pay for repairs.

Facing a 2 percent cap on local property taxes in 2012 and beyond, trustees were already considering cuts to services to reduce the town budget. Now, the town board must deal with the unexpected cost of the storm damage.

Ticonderoga has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help. If FEMA agrees to help, it will pay 87.5 percent of the cost of repairs.

There are problems, though. There is no assurance FEMA will fund the Ti repairs; if FEMA does grant Ti money the cash will come months from now, so the town still needs the upfront money to make repairs; and even with FEMA help the town faces a $125,000 bill for storm damage.

“We can’t count on FEMA,” Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “Hopefully they (FEMA) can help, but we don’t know if they will or how long it may take. Towns that got FEMA help in April (because of spring floods) are still waiting for their money.”

Besides dealing with flood damage, Malaney said, town officials have to be thinking about the upcoming winter.

“We just can’t go out and spend all our highway (department) resources,” she said. “We still have winter to get through. We’re going to need the money we budgeted for snow removal.”

The answer may be a bond. If Ticonderoga borrows the money for road work repayment will spread the cost of repairs out for years, easing the impact on the 2012 budget.

“We’ll pay for what we can and we’ll probably have to bond for the rest of it,” Malaney said.

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