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State Budget: Feds on Hook for Sandy Recovery

The governor's proposed budget includes about $40 million in Sandy-related supplemental aid.

New Jersey’s recovery following Hurricane Sandy will come, officials and legislators at Tuesday’s budget introduction at the Statehouse in Trenton said, just don’t expect the state to pay for it.

In Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $32.9 billion budget, only about $40 million has been set aside for Sandy-related recovery, all of it coming in the form of supplemental aid. Its intended use will only be as a stopgap during the process of the state’s securing aid for various recovery efforts.

The negligible sum will have little impact on the state’s budget, according to New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. Instead, the state will lean on the federal government to cover the costs of New Jersey’s recovery, which is expected to reach tens of billions of dollars.

In January, the U.S. House of Representatives approved approximately $50.7 billion in Hurricane Sandy recovery aid. That money is expected to reach New Jersey residents in the form of Community Development Block Grants and other funding sources as soon as April.

There are some concerns that sequestration could impact the federal recovery aid intended for New Jersey. Should the White House and Congress fail to reach a deal on spending cuts, various departments in New Jersey could be aversely impacted.

Sandy relief would also be cut to some degree, though Sidamon-Eristoff said he was unaware of any specifics.

Currently, there are no plans to amend the state’s budget to account for the possibility of lost Sandy aid.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-13, who represents some of the areas hardest hit by Sandy said the state’s contribution in terms of supplemental aid is irrelevant. The governor, he said, has rightly laid the disaster recovery bill at the feet of the federal government, charging them with the cost of restoring the shore.

No one, he said, should infer anything from the supplemental aid total. It exists only as a last resort stopgap in the fed-funded rebuilding effort.

Sidamon-Eristoff said the state’s municipalities and districts should look to the federal government first and foremost when it comes to seeking aid or applying for recovery loans. The state Department of Community Affairs could conceivably distribute the supplemental aid to towns in need, though he said it would only be as a second, or tertiary, option.

The $40 million could also be used for infrastructure projects and small business aid.

Overall, Sidamon Eristoff said, Sandy wouldn’t especially impact the State’s budget. New Jersey would see a revenue shortfall from its previous estimate, though revenue growth has continued following Sandy.

In terms of revenue growth – estimated to grow by 4.9 percent in fiscal year 2014 – O’Scanlon said it’s on the rise following Sandy, trending in the right direction and signaling positive momentum during what could have been a sluggish economic period.

Sidamon-Eristoff said following a couple of down months. the state has seen revenue growth after Sandy. He said he believes the overall impact of Sandy would be modest and that the recovery and reconstruction effort could actually lead to a positive bump in revenue overall.

“I’m not sure there will be a significant material impact,” he said of Sandy’s role in the state’s revenue. Sidamon-Eristoff said he even anticipates a rebound occurring in upcoming fiscal year that will offset any revenue hiccups suffered during Sandy. 

boromom February 27, 2013 at 01:09 PM
The Governor is actually smart...making the federal government pay for just about everything so New Jerseyans don't...Not saying its right...just smart. He takes the responsibility off of him to give it to someone else!
GB Shore February 27, 2013 at 02:52 PM
That's right capta320...they are all to blame...but the President is the one who is supposed to be leading and this guy FAILS big time as a leader. As a matter of fact, he perpetuates the gridlock in Washington because he is more interested in winning and having his way than he is in getting both sides together. Any moron can see that and the fact that you bring up race is ridiculous....
Spooner February 27, 2013 at 04:10 PM
...as they say: "the proof is in the pudding" You listen too to many politicians BS?
Martin February 27, 2013 at 05:06 PM
We don't have luxury houses. We're not oceanfront. Middle-class homeowners miles from the beach were flooded. We paid insurance premiums for decades have have nothing to show for it. Now FEMA imposes $50,000-$150,000 house-raising mandates and $30,000-a-year insurance costs on us. Don't you see the injustice of all that? That's why we're mad. That's why you should get the facts at Facebook.com/StopFemaNow or www.StopFemaNow.com. Join us in fighting the ridiculous new requirements that are being imposed to bail FEMA out of its 2005 Katrina-bungle debt.
Alicia78 February 27, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I would like to know why anyone has to turn to the government for any of the costs. That is what insurance is for and these people have been paying...the government needs to do something about making these insurance companies pay up and what happened to the billions in donations? Between the red cross, 2 major benefit concerts and every restaurant and store asking for donations...where is it all???
foggyworld February 27, 2013 at 07:21 PM
The federal government isn't paying for just about everything at all. Many of us paid flood insurance premiums for decades and are receiving zilch. So why this is smart, I'm not sure unless you are a one percenter who can profit from the tragedy of others.
proud February 27, 2013 at 08:08 PM
@richard Beem, do you really think "moving" is a solution for forty percent (2in5) of New Jerseyans and 18 plus percent (1in5) of Americans that no doubt live luxuriously. think about it. www.stopfemanow.com
proud February 27, 2013 at 08:57 PM
@ Alicia78,in the case of flood insurance, the insurance companies ARE the government. The insurance companies you refer to are service providers for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which essentially renders flood insurance socialized. As to charities, all too often they act the government does, picking meat from the bones and leaving only a carcass for their ultimate recipients, be they a victim and/or a taxpayer. Same thing really. www.stopfemanow.com
JEN G February 27, 2013 at 09:19 PM
@Alicia......you are 100% right!!!!!!! People don't realize that it's the government that holds your flood policy............you agent whether it be allstate, travellers, etc is just the middle man!!!!!!!! They do not hold your premiums the government does. The government (FEMA) gives out money to those who were affected by the flood but don't carry flood insurance and those of us who have been paying for years get pushed to the back burner. I am so sick of how this flood insurances works!!!! It is a rip off just like everything else our government makes us pay in to!!!!!!
George February 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Like Bush's pals in Texas got their $$$ 10 days after Katrina.
proud February 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Hanging off a hook in my closet, I have a pair of jeans with four pockets. One for the municipal government; one for the county government ;one for the state government;and, one for the federal government (rear pocket). Each pocket wants money from the other pockets. If when the jeans have worn out and are in need of retirement,and the pockets are all empty, what difference does it make who took what from whom?
GB Shore February 27, 2013 at 10:36 PM
The insurance companies write the policies for flood insurance using rate table and rules and regs that they provide. the rpoblem is that there is a disparity in rates when you compare. Why? Because many companies, even big ones like State Farm and Allstate don't do a lot of flood, so they do not know HOW to write the RIGHT policy based on the information at hand. So, if it is not written correctly, you wind up with a premium that is incorrect for your home at a rate that is probably too much. I spoke with my agent today. Details coming in another post following this.
GB Shore February 27, 2013 at 10:42 PM
First, if your home was built BEFORE Flood Maps were put in place (1974) you are grandfathered in and will NOT have to raise your home or face exhorbitant premiums (for homes that were not destroyed); Second, if your home was built after 1974, you should ensure that your policy is rated at the time it was built in accordance with the rulkes, regs and elevations AT THE TIME IT WAS BUILT. If it was (like mine was) I will NOT have to raise my house and my premiums will NOT go thru the roof. Lastly, if you house WAS destroyed or severely compromised and you have to rebuild, you HAVE to comply with the new elevations. This makes sense and not sure why anyone would NOT want to raise it. I hope this clears up all the mis-information that is going on out there. The key is to have a carrier who KNOWS how to write flood insurance plicies so you get the right coverage at the right/best price. I have $260k for my home and another $70k for contents. My premium? $733 per year. If you want someone who knows how to write the policies, contact The Flood Insurance Agency, (406) 755-2838. I've had them for a decade. they know their stuff. I do not work for them and I will not get paid anything for this. I am only trying to help those affected because I have MANY here in my neighborhood who need help.
proud February 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM
@GB Shore, I hope that you are correct, but that is not how it was explained to me. My understanding is that pre FIRM and Post FIRM (after '74 and not substantially improved) are being phased out incrementally until they reach their full actuarial rates (which is an amount that NO ONE can seem to tell me). I called FEMA (oh about fifty times) and they told me to call the NFIP, who in turn told me to call FEMA and on and on... Is it any wonder there is so much confusion out there? I have consulted my own agent, but I think I will contact yours and hope they will take a moment to confirm what you are saying. That would at least be some partial relief for some.
proud February 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Two questions @ GB, what is your effective BFE relative to your advised ABFE? And, in what zone?
GB Shore February 27, 2013 at 11:57 PM
I was told there is pre firm, post firm and new construction. You should call the number I posted to get it for yourself. If they were to raise rates as everyone is fearing, it would be catastrophic. Not sure who you spoke with, but my agent does nothing but flood...
GB Shore February 28, 2013 at 12:01 AM
My home was originally built in 9/1977. I am in zone A-5. My BFE is 7.0 and my lowest floor is my crawl which is at 4.3....next is my garage which is 6.2 and then there is my living space which is at 7.9. So I am above the grade for my home. As I mentioned, the devil in the details lays with the rules and regs and how they are applied. you REALLY need to talk to the folks who are writing the insurance. The folks I use write Flood for State Farm and All State. Call them...it's why I shared it with everyone.
Rob February 28, 2013 at 12:44 AM
GB might be correct ,but when you want to sell it the new people will not be grandfathered in. You should be prepared to live there until you die or sell it so low that it will be considered a knock down and it can be built to new standards what ever they may be. I would call this agencey and get it in writing not by someone over the phone who may not be working there in the near future and you know how that goes, this is what you get. He is not working here any longer , the reason being he was giving out the wrong info----Get it in writing
. February 28, 2013 at 05:00 AM
@foggyworld. That is because New York has a real governor. One who really cares about the people and what they need.
GB Shore February 28, 2013 at 02:03 PM
I put the info out there to help...if anyone is skeptical, then 1) call them if you are skeptical or 2) don't use the info. I am fine with these folks as I have used them for a decade. Just trying to help. I'm not looking for advice. I am just trying to help folks who appear to have some very incorrect information. My advice is to call them...clearly, they know a LOT more than any of us do, since Flood Insurance is all they do....
proud February 28, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Thanks for your efforts @ GB Shore. The reality is that much of the "very incorrect information" is generated by FEMA /NFIP. StopFemaNow.com
GB Shore February 28, 2013 at 02:22 PM
You're welcome Proud. Thanks.
anonymous February 28, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Here are some rate table I found. The first is from the NFIP. The second is from a gooogle search about flood rates released by Nags Head, NC but references the Briggs Water Act. http://www.nfipiservice.com/Stakeholder/pdf/bulletin/w-12028.pdf http://www.nagsheadnc.gov/vertical/sites/%7BB2CB0823-BC26-47E7-B6B6-37D19957B4E1%7D/uploads/2012_NFIP_changes_12-17-2012.pdf
Quaghogdigger February 28, 2013 at 04:32 PM
And they still need to get those 23 holdouts to go with the plan, or its a no-go....They want to wipe the oakwood beach section clean, and not rebuild there.
Robert Miller March 04, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Hi Foggyworld! I lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and lost 2 homes. I'm familiar with ICC, Block Grants, SRL Grants and "God help you!", the extremely disfunctional HMGP program. All Staten Island has received so far are promises from politicians. They have not been treated any better than NJ. Don't .bet your futures on this political rhetoric. I have friends still waiting on promised HMGP funding 8 years after Katrina! It took Louisiana 3 years just to start releasing the elevation grants so homes could be rebuilt. Keep in mind, if you start construction on your home before approval for HMGP, your disqualified! I truly hope NJ has a more efficient State and Local government.
Dentss Dunnagun March 04, 2013 at 01:18 PM
GB you are totally correct ...my house was built in 1948 ,I have been grandfathered since I lived here ....the next buyer will be grandfathered as well ...as long as he doesn't tear the house down and rebuild ,of course then he could raise the elevation
1stcav March 04, 2013 at 02:06 PM
I'm, as well as others are soooo confused by all these old rules, new rules, no flood Ins. vs Flood ins, and getting screwed....The bank won't release funds YOUR ins. co payed , that was because YOU payed the premiums ( It's YOUR money- not the banks) If the bank payed the premiums , then they can hold the money, but NOT when I payed the bill !!!!!! This IS America , not IRAQ ( which we payed for come to think of it ). Now WE need help , so how much is IRAQ sending back to NJ...Look into that Sen. Menendez , in between your trips la la land of the young Ho's..the D.R. via Fla.
1stcav March 04, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Googled; Flood Insurance Agency and the info I wanted came up for the Condo. unit , as they cover the Build , but from where ( the outer , 2x4's and sheathing ) I need for sheet rock into unit ...
GB Shore March 04, 2013 at 02:39 PM
@1stcav, call the number I gave you and ask for Justin, (406) 755-2838.
Rich Wieland March 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Monmouth County residents: In at least one Shore town, councilmen are confronting the hardships imposed by FEMA, asserting that the bureaucrats mandating those astronomical expenses should pay for them! http://brick.patch.com/articles/brick-officials-feds-should-fund-all-house-raisings Flood-zone homeowners in NY are being offered buyouts -- with 75% of the cost paid by FEMA. The prices are at pre-flood values. (FEMA's erroneous maps, over-reaching house-raising elevations and exorbitant annual insurance costs have devalued our houses 30% to 50%!) All along the Shore, there's a grassroots uprising against the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act that empowered FEMA to cause more damage than Sandy did: StopFemaNow.com ==> or ==> Facebook.com/StopFemaNow Come to a 1-hour meeting this Saturday, March 9th, 3PM at the Silverton First Aid Squad, 86 Maine St. (like the state), Toms River. Residents of all coastal towns are invited. Up to 20% of all US residents are affected by FEMA's expanding flood zones and onerous requirements and expenses. Our voices will be heard from Trenton to Washington!

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