U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the White House to increase the share the federal government is paying for repairing public property damage by Superstorm Sandy from 75% to 90% or more. Federal law requires that FEMA pay at least 75% of eligible costs after a disaster, and once federal obligations meet or exceed $133 per resident, FEMA can recommend the President to adjust the federal costs share up to 90% or more. New York crossed this critical threshold yesterday - Schumer today called on FEMA to move forward with this request in order to prevent local taxpayers from holding the bag.
“Sandy was a storm of national significance, and the federal government should act accordingly, picking up as much of the tab as possible so local taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag,” said Schumer. “Now that we’ve cross this critical threshold, the federal government can pay for 90% or more of the storm damage, and that’s what they should do.”
“The impact of Hurricane Sandy on Long Islanders has been devastating,” observed Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “Local governments and taxpayers could be slammed again - this time by a storm of Sandy related debt - if the federal government does not pay for the lion’s share of superstorm recovery costs. I want to thank Senator Charles Schumer for pushing to get Sandy impacted Long Islanders the federal recovery monies we need. On Long Island, we spell hurricane relief ‘S-C-H-U-M-E-R’.”
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act allows the President to adjust federal cost-shares for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The Stafford Act requires FEMA to pay at least 75 percent of eligible costs, including repair, restoration and debris removal. Once federal obligations meet or exceed $133 per capita of the state’s population ($2.6 billion in the case of New York), FEMA can recommend the President to adjust the federal cost-share from 75 percent to 90 percent.