“This is beyond our regular expenses that we budget for, so the money is desperately needed,” said City Council President Scott Mandel. “We need the funds not only to help with our infrastructure — repairing our rec center, water and sewer plants and parks — but also for the residents. They need the money to rebuild their homes and also so that businesses can get up and running.”
Jonathan Wilkofsky, executive director and general counsel of the New York Public Adjusters Association, told residents at the Neighbors Association meeting that it was not clear when homeowners would begin receiving the money. “What portion of that is going to be allocated to rebuilding homes … I have not been able to find out,” he said.
The city has granted homeowners a one-month tax extension to relieve some of the financial burden, Schnirman said, and will hold a forum with FEMA officials on Feb. 13 at City Hall to provide information to residents. “We’re hopeful that we see funding come through in an expedited fashion,” he said. “Our residents need the assistance; our businesses and our infrastructure need the repairs.”
Last Sunday, Schumer held a press conference in Point Lookout, where he said that the bill would also provide millions of dollars in funding for dozens of long-delayed projects to protect coastal communities. The Sandy Supplemental Package, he said, includes $5.4 billion for emergency and long-term Army Corps of Engineers projects, including a $150 million project for Long Beach that was rejected in 2006.
“For years and years, critical shore-protection projects remained incomplete and unfunded, but once the Sandy aid bill passes, that will change,” Schumer said. “This bill will finally provide the money to begin these projects to protect our coast, fortify roads, rebuild beaches, raise houses and shield homes and business owners. It will also provide the money for the Army Corps to fix damaged projects and finally do a comprehensive look into the best methods for protecting our city and state over the long run. These funds could not be more necessary, and I look forward to the corps getting right to work.”