To cover some of its storm-related costs, the Long Beach City Council voted unanimously on March 5 to submit a home-rule request to the State Legislature in order to issue up to $12 million in serial bonds that would finance Sandy-related expenses that are not eligible for reimbursement with state and federal grants, while also reducing an estimated $10.25 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended last June 30.
Schnirman acknowledged that the city will likely have to assume some storm-related costs, and the bonds would also cover those yet-to-be-determined expenses.
In a statement issued to the Herald on Friday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said that he is also calling on FEMA to ease the burden on the cash-strapped city and other communities, by granting a larger reimbursement to provide relief to taxpayers.
“Superstorm Sandy devastated homes, neighborhoods and businesses across Long Island, leaving the county and municipalities and the state with massive clean-up and rebuilding costs,” Schumer said. “That is why I strongly urged FEMA to reimburse at 90 percent, rather than the lower 75 percent, because it is fair and because it will be a massive relief to local taxpayers. I will continue the effort on that front until we are successful.”
Mandel said that to date, the city has only received $24 million in Sandy aid for debris removal costs.
“This was a helpful start, but we still require significantly more money,” he said.
Additionally, Mandel noted that homeowners are having ongoing problems with insurers and need assistance with raising homes, demolition, mitigation, and mold remediation.
“Our businesses need direct storm damage grants, business retention and loss of revenue grants, and business startup grants,” he told the Senate panel.
On Friday, King said that although a hurricane relief package was ultimately approved by Congress in January, the imbroglio in Washington over the Sandy aid bill significantly set back the reimbursement process for residents and municipalities alike, after House Republicans failed to bring the $60 billion measure up for a vote in mid-December before the end of that session.