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Town seeks $400K in Sandy relief

Three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast, residents and their government representatives continue to seek financial relief as they make repairs and continue the storm cleanup.

President Barack Obama signed a $50.5-billion aid package for Sandy victims on Tuesday, Jan. 29, while Lewisboro Supervisor Peter Parsons continues to submit claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for reimbursement for storm-related costs.

An uprooted tree leans against a house on Mill River Road in South Salem on Tuesday, Oct. 30, after Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Parsons said on Tuesday that the town has so far submitted $406,000 worth of claims to FEMA, an amount he estimated to be about 85% of what the town will end up seeking. He said that some third-party costs associated with Highway Department work after the storm are still being compiled.

“That doesn’t mean we know how much money we’re going to get,” he said. “The hope has been that the feds will pay at least 70% [of our claims]. We don’t know if the state is going to belly up to the bar and fill the gap between 70% and 100%. In the past they have, but it’s also clear that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a pretty conservative guy when it comes to spending the taxpayers’ money. There’s been a tradition that the state ponies up about 12%, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Mr. Parsons said that, of the $406,000 sought so far, about $142,000 is associated with damage to town

roofs and fences. He said that will probably be covered by insurance. The rest of the costs are mainly from manpower for clearing trees and roads, he said.

Federal aid

The Senate passed the aid bill on Monday, 62-36, two weeks after the House approved it by a 241-180 margin. The money will be used for Housing and Urban Development Department community development block grants, FEMA’s disaster relief aid fund for shelter, power restoration and other utility services, repairs to New York and New Jersey transit systems, and other Sandy-related projects.

Gov. Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released a joint statement on Monday regarding the Senate’s passage of the disaster relief package.

“Our genuine thanks and gratitude goes out to the U.S. Senate for its thoughtful consideration and passage of the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief package,” they said. “Despite the difficult path in getting to this moment, the Senate membership clearly recognized early on the urgency and necessity of approving the full aid package and its importance in rebuilding our battered infrastructure and getting our millions of affected residents back on their feet as quickly as possible. To all Americans, we are grateful for their willingness to come to our aid as we take on the monumental task of rebuilding and we pledge to do the same should our fellow citizens find themselves facing unexpected and harsh devastation. We also make special note of the tenacious efforts of our respective Congressional delegations in steering the Sandy aid package through their respective houses and bringing this aid home to their people.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who recently began his first term serving Lewisboro and Katonah in the 18th District, said, “With Hudson Valley families, communities and businesses still facing a daunting recovery, this relief package offers long overdue assistance to those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. We can never again allow politics to get in the way of helping Americans in need.”

The relief package was signed a week after FEMA extended the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which will allow applicants to remain in hotels until Feb. 9, and extended the Individual Assistance (IA) program for 30 days.

The IA program allows individuals to apply for FEMA assistance for such needs as home repairs, and businesses to apply to the Small Business Administration for loans.

Applications for assistance through FEMA may be found by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 800-621-3362.

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