Modified: September 26, 2023 9:27am
The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District has begun administering the November 2022 Storm Damage Fund program on behalf of Erie County, with up to $2 million in funding to eventually be awarded through Erie County’s 2023 budget balancing procedures.
Applications are now being accepted to provide assistance to local businesses that were impacted by the devastating lake effect storm last November. The objective of the program is to indirectly provide grant funds to eligible farms and agribusinesses throughout Erie County to assist them with covering the cost of capital damages to buildings, structures, machinery, or equipment that were not covered by their insurance or a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA.)
“Our intent is to strategically invest in and strengthen our local farms and agri-businesses business that were adversely impacted by the winter storm that occurred last November but were not eligible for full insurance coverage or federal and state loan assistance resulting from the November 2022 storm not being declared a federal disaster”, said Daniel Castle, Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning.
The $2 million in funding is being allocated within the 2023 county budget to help area farms and agribusinesses recovery from the lake effect storm event that occurred from Nov. 16, 2022 through Nov. 21, 2022. It does not include any state or federal funds.
“The objective of this program is to provide grant funds to eligible farms and agribusinesses throughout Erie County to assist them with covering the cost of capital damages to buildings, structures, machinery, or equipment so that these businesses can return to levels of production they enjoyed prior to last November’s storm,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Funds will be made available to eligible businesses up to $200,000 to address documented storm damage to facilities, structures, equipment, machinery, and capital assets which were determined not eligible for insurance coverage, in a manner in which will preserve agricultural lands and conserve agricultural soils and protect water quality for future generations.
The Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District (ECSWCD), will administer this program on behalf of Erie County. ECSWCD will be responsible for accepting and reviewing applications and determining which applications are complete and meet the eligibility criteria in order to qualify for potential funding. ECSWCD will then work with selected businesses to determine what costs are eligible and work with the business to finalize the contractual agreement to allow for the transfer of funding.
“We know that many farms sustained significant damages from the November Storm. Our ability to help these critical agri-businesses recover from these storm damages and remain in business will benefit all of Erie County, as we all rely on local farms and agribusinesses”, said Mark Gaston, Field Director with the Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District.
Applications began being accepted this past Friday (Sept. 22) and will be approved on a rolling basis for up to one year or until all such funds are allocated. All applicants will need to submit proof that damages occurred between Nov. 16, 2022 through Nov. 21, 2022 as a result of the storm and that eligible repairs were not covered by an insurance settlement/payment or an SBA Loan.
Funds approved by ECSWCD will be in forgivable grants conditioned upon preservation of farmlands for a period of 5 years.
For more information:
About the Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District, visit www.ecswcd.org
About the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit www.erie.gov/environment