Governor Cuomo is calling on officials from areas most affected by recent natural disasters to lead the way in storm recovery efforts.
He held a conference today to launch the so-called "New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program." It'll include local officials from over a hundred New York communities. They're tasked with finding effective ways to spend $750 million in federal aid to help rebuild and prepare the state for future storms.
Cuomo says collaboration is key. "It takes regions coming together. It's Naussau and Suffolk together, the boundaries don't matter, the divisions don't matter. The unity is what provides us strength."
He says it's their leadership that will make the difference. "You have to keep driving forward and saying, 'Yes we can! I know we went through a tough time, but I know we can come back better than before.' You have to dig deep and remember who you are - remember we are New Yorkers at the end of the day."
Cuomo says each community has an amount of funding that it can qualify for, if it has an eligible plan. Funding will come in amounts ranging from $3 million to $25 million depending on the population and the amount of damage sustained in each community.
Cuomo also noted that a bonus is available for the best plans in eight areas. These include the best community involvement, the best use of technology and planning, and the best regional collaboration, among others. The bonus is worth $3 million.
The gathering follows tropical storms Irene and Lee, Superstorm Sandy, and the recent flooding in the Mohawk Valley.