After losing an estimated $30 million in sales tax during the first two weeks following Hurricane Sandy, Nassau County is expected to make a full recovery by the end of the first quarter in 2013, said Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
According to Maragos, though the numbers are not yet official, the county, supported by a strong recovery and holiday season, gained back approximately $15 to $20 million by the end of 2012.
“It now appears that the recovery and re-building is already in full force with the rapid financial infusion from insurance companies, FEMA’s assistance to our communities and the surprisingly strong 12.8 percent increase in holiday sales as reported by the National Retail Federation,” Maragos said. “We witnessed a very robust recovery in the following weeks, and the numbers that we’ve gotten so far tend to indicate a full recovery or maybe a little better.”
The significant losses in sales tax revenue that occurred shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit, Maragos explained, were a result of little to no economic activity. Gas was difficult to get, and many groceries and department stores remained closed due to lack of power.
As more stores and gas stations began to open, and power was restored, economic activity picked up.
“Subsequent to [the first two weeks] of recovery, with insurance and FEMA funds coming in to help people rebuild, we kind of anticipated for 2012 that we’d lose a net 1 to 1.5 percent, $10 to $15 million,” Maragos said. “But we see people continue to invest in new cars and appliances and we would expect to not only recover that loss, but do a little better.”
While there has been a significant recovery in the sales tax revenue, the total damage to the County is still on the mind of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Spokeswoman Katie Grilli-Robles said the county has requested $6 billion in Federal assistance for recovery and mitigation efforts related to Hurricane sandy.
According to Maragos, Superstorm Sandy, and the subsequent nor’easter, caused Nassau County more than $1 billion in economic losses alone. That estimate did not take into account the loss of life, property or public costs of cleanup.