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this flood-control committee to make a survey and report. They have done it and did a very diligent job in making this report. The Governor, on receiving this report, called the general assembly into special session to take action to give aid to the people in the stricken areas. We in Torrington suffered $13 million damage. Our industries suffered $7 million damage.
Senator Bush was most generous in giving us his time. He has met with us many times and sat down with the committee many times in giving us his advice and assistance, and in helping us. I am sure his presence on this committee will be of great help to you in making a report to the Congress.
We expect and need help. Our industries have suffered terribly, and our people have suffered tremendously. The scars are still there. The waters have receded. We need help-Federal help and State help.
I am appealing to you not as an individual, but representing the people of my community here this afternoon, and I am most grateful for this opportunity to appear before you to bring you this message. We expect help, and I hope it can be given.
In Hartford we have the insurance center of the world. We have the brains and the ability and the know-how and the knowledge which can be used. These agencies can be put into effect to help draft bills, and so forth, that will be helpful.
Again I say I am most grateful to Senator Bush for his remarks at the outset of the meeting, which showed he understands the tremendous task that we mayors and public officials and first selectmen have in our communities in this rehabilitation program and reconstruction program, and in getting our communities back on their feet and back to their normal way of life.
We in Torrington contribute a great deal to the national defense. In the present state of the world, we in the Naugatuck Valley fee as though it is important that these industries which are vital to the economy of our cities and the State and the health of the Nation, receive the help of our people. Nine thousand of our citizens are employed in our local industries. Therefore I appeal to your gentlemen to get the legislation necessary and help us, so that we may help our citizens and our communities in their rehabilitation.
Senator LEHMAN. Senator Bush.
Senator BUSH. I have no questions, but I certainly thank the mayor on his very able statement concerning the city of Torrington.
Mayor CARROLL. I might say that as to the administration of such a program, civil defense could very ably do it. Their program was set up for handling a disaster. We have seen that they have cooperated very well with the Corps of Engineers under Public Law 875, which is limited to works which are not of a permanent nature, at the present time. Therefore there is some legislation necessary so that outright grants can be given to the cities and towns to enable them to rehabilitate themselves and bring them back to a normal way of living.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you very much for coming here. It was a very interesting statement.
Mr. EDELSTEIN. Mayor Bergin of Waterbury.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD D. BERGIN, MAYOR-ELECT,
Mayor BERGIN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am Edward D. Bergin, mayor-elect of the city of Waterbury.
I have submitted a statement for the record and I just want to emphasize 1 or 2 particular points.
We in Waterbury are very concerned about the present condition of the river. We feel for the protection of our people and the protection of the property something must be done immediately to widen the river and to protect the banks of that river.
I would like to comment that there seems to be considerable confusion in respect to what the Army does under Public Law 875.
I have just gone into this matter recently and have attended a district meeting. I find there is no agreement amongst the people who have been working on the problem as to just what problems the Army engineers will take care of. I think that needs to be clarified. I think the cities and towns need assistance first through the State for the purpose of widening the river and for the purchase of property. I say first through the State because I believe it is an immediate problem. The cities I do not believe are in a financial position to buy the necessary land for river straightening and widening.
We in Waterbury are appealing to the State legislature for that money. In turn, I think the Federal Government should reimburse the State.
The second concern in Waterbury, of course, is for long-range dam protection. There has been talk about a dam at Thomaston. We in Waterbury feel while that will be helpful, a dam above Waterbury also is needed. The Waterbury Engineering Department made no study of this, but we feel a review of the whole Naugatuck Valley with this in mind should be made, and concrete proposals should be arrived at for the purpose of furnishing adequate protection.
Of course, we agree on the flood-insurance or disaster-insurance program, but we do feel strongly that this should be retroactive, both for personal property and for the property of industry, with an adjustment, probably, on the industrial end of it, through recovery by way of tax losses. We feel that the most important immediate concern-and I believe this is in the agenda of this committee-is that of immediate protection. We do need help to straighten out our river and dig it up and buy the properties surrounding it. We need financial aid in that respect, and that is the first and most important and most immediate
We endorse the other part of the program and appreciate this opportunity of coming here this afternoon.
Senator BUSH. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say to the mayor that on the question of the review I agree with him. Immediately after this flood in August I asked the Public Works Committee of the Senate, which acted by poll-since we were not in Washington-to authorize the Army engineers to go ahead and begin that review immediately, and not wait until we came back into session. I am very happy to say there was no objection to that in the committee, and the chairman, Mr. Chavez, the Senator from New Mexico, did order that review, which is already under way.
Mayor BERGIN. That is right.
Senator BUSH. I am very glad that you brought it out.
The other thing I was going to ask you about, but I think you have answered it, is I just hapuened to catch a glimpse of you on television last Friday at 6: 45, I believe, on a program. Is that right?
Mayor BERGIN. Yes.
Senator BUSH. Or perhaps it was a film. But at any rate, you mentioned something about the Thomaston Dam, and I would like to clarify that point in my mind.
I got the impression you did not feel very confident about the help that the Thomaston Dam might give us in the lower valley.
Mayor BERGIN. I think it is agreed it would not protect against that August 19 type of flood.
Senator BUSH. But is it not also felt that had it been there, a very high percentage of damage might have been avoided?
Mayor BERGIN. That is right, Senator, but it would still not have been adequate for that type of thing.
Senator BUSH. In other words, you are not in opposition to going ahead and having appropriations made to complete that dam?
Mayor BERGIN. No, sir; but I am also advocating something additional.
Senator BUSH. I am very glad to get your thought clear.
Mayor BERGIN. I would like to submit figures. I have submitted some, but in Waterbury we do not have the actual figures on the damage to industry and property. We have a figure of around $40 million, but I think that is very, very low.
Senator BUSH. I think you have gone ahead with an urban-redevelopment program which probably will be of great benefit to the area in the future.
Mayor BERGIN. Yes, but too far in the future to help immediately or to alleviate the real suffering of our people. We have asked in our program here at Hartford that the State subsidize the purchase of those properties which are being considered for urban redevelopment, so that it might go forward immediately and so that those people concerned might move their homes or go some place else out of this area. Many of them felt after the first flood, "we can stay here." But after they were hit twice after that, they have a different feeling. Senator LEHMAN. Is this urban redevelopment project in the flood area?
Mayor BERGIN. Yes.
Senator LEHMAN. In the area affected by the flood?
Mayor BERGIN. Yes. Do not ask me too many technical questions, because I am a very new mayor.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you.
Senator BUSH. There has been some $60,000 available in the way of a planning grant.
Mayor BERGIN. Yes, sir; a survey.
Senator BUSH. And $600,000 of additional funds have been reserved for use in that area, from the Federal Government. Is that correct ! Mayor BERGIN. They have been reserved, but not ordered. They are not available at the moment.
Senator BUSH. They do not have the plans ready either. They cannot be used until the plan is ready.
Mayor BERGIN. That is right.
Senator BUSH. But it certainly did get very prompt action on that. Mayor BERGIN. They did on the amount for the survey. There is no question about that.
Senator BUSH. I hope they are going ahead with that program. Mayor BERGIN. I am sure they will after January 1. I cannot guarantee it.
Senator BUSH. I am glad to see you here, sir.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you, Mayor Bergin.
Without objection, the full statement of Mayor Bergin will be made a part of the record at this point.
(The statement of Mayor Bergin follows:)
STATEMENT OF EDWARD D. BERGIN MAYOR-ELECT, WATERBURY, CONN.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, ladies, and gentlemen; as the mayorelect of the city of Waterbury I have been designated by the mayor to represent our city at this hearing.
Let me say first that I noted with particular interest that in the invitation to this hearing your committee said that discussion would not be limited to disaster risk insurance but would also include the general question of Federal aid for victims of our recent tragic floods.
I hope it is within my power to impress indelibly on the minds of the members of this committee just one thought a thought that you will in turn take back to Washington and there impress on the minds of your associates in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.
The thought is this: In our city of 110,000 people, a thriving industrial center along the banks of the Naugatuck River, many thousands of persons are living in dread-fearful with each rainstorm that the river may rise in fury once again. These men and women are looking for assurance that action will be taken, not 10 years from now, not 5 years from now, but-now.
Only the Federal Government has the facilities and the resources to lift this pall of fearful anxiety that hangs over our city and that hangs over many another community in Connecticut. The Federal Government, too, has the power to act immediately.
We want long-range projects, of course. We want, and need, flood control on the Naugatuck River. We want Federal aid on river planning. We want, of course, substantial Federal aid in redevelopment programs. We want all possible Federal aid in insuring against future disasters.
However, there are many things that can be done by the Federal Government without waiting for the future. There are things that should be done, that must be done if the people of Waterbury are to have some reasonably early relief from the gnawing terror that now seizes them with each forecast of rain. For immediate action by the Federal Government I recommend:
1. Erection of emergency dikes to afford temporary protection to dwellings, business firms, and industrial establishments, pending permanent flood-control
2. Widening of the channel of the Naugatuck River as recommended by the Army engineers.
3. Deepening of the channel of the Naugatuck River and tributary streams. 4. Advance grants on redevelopment programs, these grants to be charged against subsequent redevelopment allotments.
5. Direct grants to municipalities for the repair, reconstruction, and replacement of bridges, highways, stormwater sewers, sanitary sewers, public buildings, and other municipal facilities.
6. Assignment to municipalities, through the State office of civil defense, of CD equipment (including pumps, generators, and other emergency gear) in sufficient quantity to meet possible future disasters.
7. Direct loans and grants to families and businesses seriously affected by the flood disaster.
Many of the people of our city have not yet recovered from the shock of the August 19 catastrophe, with its appalling loss of life and its huge property damage in Waterbury. They want flood control, of course, but they want action before the necessary flood-control steps can be taken. They need tangible signs that the Federal Government has not forgotten them, that Washington knows
the terrible losses they have suffered and will try to give some direct, immediate help.
To appreciate properly the feelings of our citizens you would have to stand on a street near the river and talk to them; you would have to see their eyes scan the skies for rain clouds; you would have to hear their words of apprehension.
Our people with homes or businesses in the river area are actually desperate. We are depending on the Federal Government to help them. We are depending on the Federal Government to give that help immediately.
In the matter of disaster insurance, I believe we should have all-inclusive coverage, including not only floods but major disasters of all kinds.
I believe this disaster insurance should be retroactive to January 1, 1955.
I believe Federal disaster insurance should be started at once.
Damage estimate, Waterbury, Conn., Sept. 8, 1955
I. Public property and facilities:
(g) Roads, sewers, and related plant and equipment_-
(h) Bridges --
(i) Police station, cars, and facilities.
(j) Civil defense materials_.
(k) Evacuation costs--.
(1) Public housing (local, State, Federal) –
(m) Farming (land and crops)
(n) Parks and playgrounds_.
(0) Naugatuck River channel clearance and restoration.
(p) Health department, municipal abattoir.
(q) Dog pound--
Total public property and facilities-
II. Private property and facilities:
(a) Residential housing_.
(b) Industrial plants--
Total private property and facilities--
III. Private institutions and churches_-_
Total damage estimate__.
115,000 166, 200 90,000 48, 600 5,500 322, 200 560,000 16, 242 15,000 20, 000 5,000 11, 500 102, 800 1,500,000 5,000 18, 000
3, 301, 042
2,857, 000 12, 034, 000 14, 176, 000 3,477, 750 3, 230, 000
35, 774, 750 20, 250
39, 096, 042 Our
NOTE. These estimates were prepared by present city administration. hasty check finds them rather low.