Albany, NY - March 15, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has provided $4,023,035 million to Suffolk County for reimbursement of debris removal costs incurred by the county following the impact of Superstorm Sandy. Suffolk County experienced severely damaged trees and other vegetation, leaving approximately 348,372 cubic yards of debris on county roads, right of ways, parks and other public spaces. The county responded by combining village personnel, equipment and some outside contracts. Contracts were used for debris clean-up, tree removal, garbage and landscape removal and movement of debris to disposal location.
"Sandy’s impact was devastating to every community in its path and Suffolk County absorbed unprecedented damage, leaving storm debris all over the county," Governor Cuomo said. "Like so many other affected communities, Suffolk County has had to remove huge quantities of debris, which they continue to do months after the storm ripped through its villages, towns and cities. This reimbursement is among many that Suffolk County and other affected communities will receive, passed through the state, from the federal government. I am very pleased to be able to direct these funds back to Suffolk County and help them continue in their overall restoration and recovery effort."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "The impact of Superstorm Sandy was felt throughout Suffolk County, leaving hundreds of thousands of tree debris across roadways and public and private properties. Governor Cuomo has been by our side throughout this difficult post-storm process and I thank him for helping us again by directing these critically important reimbursement funds into our county coffers."
Senator Kenneth LaValle said, "We were all shocked by the amount of damage Super Storm Sandy inflicted upon our county, towns and villages. While there is more to be done, the FEMA aid being disbursed for cleanup will go a long way to help with the great recovery work being done."
Senator Carl Marcellino said, "I am grateful that the county is receiving these critical funds, ensuring that Suffolk taxpayers are not going to assume the full brunt of the costs in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. This is an important step as we continue to recover and rebuild."
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. said, "Superstorm Sandy caused enormous destruction and damage throughout Suffolk County. The county expended significant resources to remove storm debris so that communities could start recovering and rebuilding as quickly as possible. Delivering this reimbursement funding back to Suffolk County will help provide much needed support for its ongoing restoration efforts."
Senator Malcolm Smith, Co-Chair of the New York State Senate's Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy Recovery said, "In the days after Sandy first hit, Suffolk County directed tremendous resources towards clean-up and repair efforts in local communities. At the federal and state level, we recognize the value of those rapid investments. That's why we are doing everything we can to make county governments whole again."
Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "One of our great strengths as New Yorkers is that when disasters strike this state, we come together and help our neighbors recover and rebuild. I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership and dedication to all New Yorkers who suffered as a result of Superstorm Sandy and for ensuring that this reimbursement be provided to Suffolk County. As a state, we have seen that when we come together and work for the common good following these disasters, we not only rebuild, but we rebuild stronger and better prepared for the future."
Senator Lee M. Zeldin said, "The release of this funding is great news for Suffolk County. After Sandy hit, our municipalities began the expensive and time consuming task of clearing downed trees and hazardous materials, amongst many other responsibilities. There were massive cleanup costs for county, town and village budgets which could have resulted in even more of a burden to local taxpayers without help from Congress. I am particularly grateful for Governor Cuomo’s successful effort to lobby Congressional leadership and the White House. This assistance is vital as we continue to recover."
Senator Phil Boyle said, "The cleanup of debris left by Sandy was an urgent undertaking for public safety and health, requiring massive combined efforts of labor and equipment. I applaud the Governor’s release of federal funds to reimburse Suffolk County for these unexpected expenses and am pleased that these funds will continue to come forth as the cleanup efforts continue."
Assembly Member Bob Sweeney said, "This funding is critically important to our community as local families continue to pick up the pieces, rebuilding their homes and businesses. Our local governments have been a fundamental partner in these efforts to move past this devastation and protect our community against damage from future natural disasters. This reimbursement will help in these efforts."
Assembly Member Steve Englebright said, "Following the storm our residents were faced with considerable damage and the daunting task of removing debris. Our local governments stepped up to help, but incurred significant expenses. This funding is critical to ensure that these costs are not passed on to already overburdened property tax payers. I would like to express my gratitude to those in Suffolk County who responded to Superstorm Sandy and to Governor Cuomo for making this funding available to our communities to help in their recovery from the effects of the storm."
Assembly Member Fred Thiele said, "Superstorm Sandy inflicted untold damage to the Suffolk County community. I am pleased that we are finally able to provide essential financial relief that will aid in us in our efforts to rebuild."
Assembly Member Phil Ramos said, "So many of our hard working home and business owners are already overburdened by costs to remove debris and rebuild. This funding is important to our ongoing efforts to restore our community and ensure that crucial services provided by our local governments are not put at risk because of unforeseen costs borne as a result of the storm."
Assembly Member Michael Fitzpatrick said, "This aid is greatly needed, and will certainly be put to good use as Suffolk County continues to recover from the devastating impacts of Superstorm Sandy. I appreciate the Governor’s assistance to ensure these critical federal funds are distributed to ensure cleanup efforts move forward."
Assemblyman Andrew Raia said, "After all the struggles Long Islanders have had to endure in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, it's great to finally see substantial relief coming from Washington. I want to applaud the Governor for working so hard to fight through the political partisanship that exists at the federal level to get Suffolk County families the relief they have needed from the beginning."
Assemblyman Al Graf said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and Congressman King on their dedication to the people of Long Island, in securing funds to clean up the debris left from Superstorm Sandy. I am sure they are continuing to fight to secure the funds needed for mitigation; especially those needed to close the breaches on Fire Island that are wreaking havoc on our mainland coastlines."
Assembly Member Edward Hennessey said, "This reimbursement is critical in making sure Suffolk County taxpayers are not completely saddled with the cost of cleanup from Superstorm Sandy. I will continue fighting to make sure our communities get the state and federal assistance needed to fully recover and rebuild."
Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino said, "This four million dollars is a great start to make Suffolk county whole for the money it spent cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy. I look forward to working with the Governor to make sure Long Island is returned to its pre-Sandy state."
Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci said, "Our community has shown a resilient spirit in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The efforts put forth by our local agencies, relief organizations and residents have been, and remain, truly remarkable. Today’s influx of assistance will allow our community to continue the recovery process as we work to restore a complete sense of normalcy. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and all our federal representatives for their efforts and strong show of support in our time of need."
The release of these federal funds are part of ongoing and anticipated future reimbursements the state will administer and pay to the affected municipalities. Municipalities are being reimbursed based on a variety of projects that include construction and demolition, sand and vegetative debris removal, EOC activations, evacuations, inspections and emergency IT repairs and restoration and the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program. The state will continue to make these reimbursement payments as FEMA obligates the funds.