Updated 05/10/2012 09:26 PM
Orange County officials and FEMA dispute government center repair costs
Orange County officials met with FEMA consultants to discuss funding for the government center. As our Venise Toussaint tells us, there's some controversy about how much the repairs will cost.
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ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Orange County officials and FEMA can’t come to an agreement on how much it would cost to repair the storm damaged government center. In a lengthy report, FEMA undermined the county’s $10 million repair estimates, instead, predicting it would only cost a fraction of that amount at half a million dollars.
“That’s unacceptable. Our experts said it would cost $10 million, so now we’re at the table reconciling those two numbers,” said Orange County Executive Ed Diana.
So why such a stark difference? Diana says it boils down to pre vs. post storm damage. Meaning what damage existed before the storms hit and what was left as a result of them. FEMA released a report detailing their estimates of the damage in March, but that report never made it into the hands of the legislature.
“We’re disappointed that there wasn’t a full sharing of all the information,” said Minority Leader Jeffrey Berman.
Diana says the report was withheld because it was only a draft. He’s now coming under fire being blasted by legislators on both sides of the isle for what they’re calling a lack of transparency.
“When the final report’s in, then they’ve got their report,” Diana said.
“It’s never a good idea to hold back information to policy makers,” Berkman added.
Securing federal funding from FEMA is a long process. Receiving the funds and coming to a conclusion of the future of the government center could take months. County officials and FEMA will meet again to discuss funding and hopefully come to an agreement, however, the date has not yet been set.