“This is the second-most-expensive storm, second to [Hurricane] Katrina, in modern political history, and we need federal assistance,” Cuomo said. “I don’t have $32 billion to spend to finance the reconstruction. We would have to do a massive tax increase if we had to pay that bill ourselves … I’m not about to raise taxes. We need help from the federal government, and we need it now. The city manager has to pay a payroll this week — they need money now. We’re saying to Congress, we need you to vote, we need you to vote now and we need that funding.”
In cash-strapped Long Beach, Hurricane Sandy caused a total of $250 million in damage, Schnirman said earlier this month. While city officials continue to fight for the maximum FEMA reimbursement and shift their focus toward rebuilding — the City Council voted unanimously on a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting that allows the city to begin tearing down the damaged boardwalk — the funding announced on Sunday will help the city cover the cost of its recovery effort. Schnirman said that it will also prevent the city from having to resort to any immediate, short-term borrowing measures.
“This money is going to make a huge, immediate difference,” Schnirman said. “Obviously, we know that Long Beach was one of the hardest-hit areas throughout Nassau County and throughout the state. We know that we’ve come a very long way, and yet we have so much to do. Municipalities like Long Beach have used all of [their] resources.”
“This is a major step today, because the governor plowed through all of the red tape,” he added. “We’re already facing tremendous cleanup costs. As we address those costs, this gives us an immediate, huge cash infusion to have enough money on hand to make sure that we’re paying our bills, we’re paying our staff, we’re keeping the lights on and we’re demonstrating to Wall Street that we have the cash on hand to be viable going forward.”