Massena declares emergency due to approaching storm; Owens supports Cuomo's call for federal help
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 9:06 am

MASSENA -- Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray has declared a state of emergency for the entire Town of Massena in anticipation of possible impacts of severe weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy.

Meanwhile, Congressman Bill Owens applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo's request that President Obama provide an emergency declaration for the State of New York in advance of Hurricane Sandy's arrival.

Supervisor Gray said he made his decision simultaneously with Village of Massena Mayor James Hidy based on a recommendation from St. Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management Director Joseph Gilbert.

Weather forecasts call for high winds and extensive rain in connection with the hurricane hitting the eastern coast of the United States.

While the declaration has no immediate direct impact on Town of Massena operations, it sets the stage for further action should it become necessary as this weather event unfolds, Gray said.

“While no one wants to over-react to this occurrence, we want to ensure that all provisions are in place should it be necessary to take further actions,” he said.

Gray advised Town residents to make preparations as they would for any possible weather emergency that may result in the loss of electricity and damage to trees and structures.

The Town Hall was to open Monday as scheduled at 8 a.m. to conduct normal business.

The state of emergency declaration will allow the town, if necessary, to restrict vehicular traffic in certain areas, or take other precautions as are necessary to both assist local first responders and to help protect public health and property.

In addition, it will be important to assist with post-disaster reimbursements for any damage and expenses which the Town may incur as a result of a weather incident.

Congressman Owens said Gov.Cuomo's request for help from the federal government now was a good idea.

"State and local budgets are stretched thin from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and so I applaud Governor Cuomo's request for help in advance of Hurricane Sandy," said Owens. "We remember the damage caused by the storms last year, and I believe as Governor Cuomo does that we must take every precaution to protect life and property in the state."

The governor's letter to President Obama specifically requests assistance from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers "to respond to debris-related recovery efforts to lessen the burden on the already overwhelmed local resources."