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State budget has good news for Fort Plain flood victims

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Albany/HV: State budget has good news for Fort Plain flood victims
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The newly passed state budget has a provision that may leave flood victims with something to smile about. Barry Wygel spoke to those in Fort Plain who stand to gain the most from the legislation.

FORT PLAIN, N.Y. -- Spring cleaning in Fort Plain but it isn't just the winter residents are cleaning up from. Flood recovery from last summer's flood is still underway.

"The basement was bad. The basement was flooded, and we had to put new boxes in, so we had to live without power for 11 days," said Duane Dodson.

For those struggling to recover, this year's state budget has some good news. Towns and school districts can now opt-in to a program where they can reassess flood damaged properties at their post-flood values.

"Because right now, if you haven't had your property reassessed, you are potentially paying taxes on property that is still in pre-flood condition," said State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk.

It's a move aimed at helping both homeowners and business owners recover, and the project may not find a better candidate than John Hart, owner of the Fort Plain Save-A-Lot.

"An amazing amount of our trade is walk-in business, that puts them at a real disadvantage if the stores weren't here," said John Hart.

In the wake of the flood Hart not only reopened the Save-A-Lot, but has since bought the rest of the plaza and hopes to have it fully reopened within the month.

Hart says he knows buying the building is a bit of a risk with its flood history, but if he has to pay a little less in property taxes that risk is a little more manageable.

"It makes it a little more worthwhile that I bought it and took the chance," said Hart."

Hart says he hopes to have the Family Dollar open within a couple of weeks and a third business soon after that.

For Hart and other property owners to get a new assessment, their town must opt-into the program within 90 days. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP