Help! The high-water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in 2019 have adversely affected many residences, both primary and secondary, as well as municipalities and businesses.
When first announced, the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative grants were meant only for the latter two categories.
However, many homeowners decided to apply for those grants in hopes of raising awareness to the plight of homeowners.
In addition, many of these same homeowners contacted their elected officials and the governor’s office pleading for help.
Much to our delight, the governor announced that $20 million of the REDI monies would be set aside for homeowners.
We felt vindicated.
But now, not so much.
It turns out that the fine print says only those owners whose waterfront residences are their primary residences will be eligible for assistance.
Not only does this eliminate a large majority of waterfront owners, it is totally unfair and discriminatory.
Those of us who own homes on the water that are not primary residences pay the same tax rate as those who have primary residences.
We spend a lot of money in our communities.
We volunteer in communities.
Does my community want to have their tax base shrink because our home collapses?
Do the businesses in my community want to lose all the revenue we provide for them because we can no longer live here?
Just because we have another residence elsewhere does not mean the state of New York should abandon us.
I urge everyone who has a secondary residence or friends who own secondary residences that have seen high water damage to contact their town and/or village boards to endorse help for us.
Have them write letters of support to state officals — especially the governor.
But we must act as well.
Contact your state representatives and the governor’s office and urge that the state make another $20 million available to aid us in our recovery.
Join me in urging state Sen. Patty Ritchie (315-782-3418), state Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (315-786-0284) and especially the governor’s office (518-474-8290) to work toward doing what is fair and just for all waterfront homeowners.
Give us the opportunity to apply for help with saving our properties.
Don’t delay; do it now!