Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a $12 million borrowing measure last Friday to help Long Beach cover costs associated with Hurricane Sandy and a multi-million-dollar deficit that led officials to declare a fiscal crisis two years ago.
The State Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill earlier this month. Cuomo’s signature on Feb. 21 gave the city the ability to issue up to $12 million in serial bonds, to be paid over 10 years, to finance “extraordinary” Sandy-related costs that are not eligible for reimbursement by the federal or state government and to liquidate remaining deficits in its general, sewer, water and risk-management funds.
Sandy caused an estimated $200 million in damage in Long Beach, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Centre who introduced the bill in the Senate, said the legislation would provide the city with an “additional tool” to continue its rebuilding and recovery efforts and ease the burden on local taxpayers.
“It is important that Long Beach continues its recovery effort while also avoiding overtaxing its residents,” said Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, a Democrat from Long Beach. “Senator Skelos and I worked together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that Long Beach receives the aid they need, and I commend the governor for signing the bill into law.”
Last year, an independent audit of city finances uncovered a $9.2 million deficit for fiscal 2011-12. As it worked to turn around the city’s finances, the current administration had barely been in office a year when Sandy hit, creating many unforeseen expenses that Weisenberg said are not reimbursable by the state or federal government. The bill gives the city the ability to bond separately for costs associated with the storm and the deficit, and it could also eliminate the third year of a $183 deficit tax surcharge per household.