Long Island to get $144M in state Sandy repair funds, says Cuomo

Robert Brodsky

New York State will provide about $144 million to municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk counties to fund superstorm Sandy repair costs not covered by the federal government, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday.

The October 2012 storm, which damaged area roadways, bridges, hospitals and government buildings, cost governments in the two counties about $1.4 billion, primarily in Nassau, where the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant will cost more than $800 million to repair and rebuild.

Under federal rules, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse 90 percent of the costs, with municipalities responsible for the final 10 percent.

Cuomo said the state will use about $175 million in funds from the federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief program to cover the final costs. Entities including counties, towns, cities, villages, school districts and fire districts will be eligible for the money.
Municipalities in Westchester, Rockland, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties will share a total of $31 million.

Cuomo said the funds will prevent municipalities from having to borrow, raise taxes or dip into emergency reserves to pay for storm costs.

"We are going to help municipalities pay to rebuild, bolster critical infrastructure and work to revive their local economies in the process," Cuomo said.

State Storm Recovery Office director Jamie Rubin said Sandy "ravaged public infrastructure and government buildings. . . . Restoring these without increasing the financial burden on a community in recovery is the right thing to do."

Municipalities in Nassau, where spending on storm costs totaled $1.26 billion, will be eligible for an estimated $126 million in matching funds from the state. In Suffolk, where Sandy spending was about $180 million, the entities can get about $18 million, officials said.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the funds will defray the "actual costs of restoring" the county's hard-hit infrastructure.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the state's "critical assistance" will "ease the burden" for county taxpayers who are still recovering and rebuilding after the storm.