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Huntington Notebook: Officials Urge Transparency on Sandy Funds

News and notes from the Town of Huntington.

Long Island officials are calling for transparency in Hurricane Sandy funding on the heels of a $50 billion recovery assistance package approved Thursday.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington, Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink, Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, Port Washington-Manhasset OEM Commissioner Peter Forman, and Brookville Mayor Daniel Serota launched the Sandy Relief Transparency Working Group Friday to ensure there is transparency with Hurricane Sandy recovery funding and that the resources are distributed locally.

The group is pushing for a clearinghouse of information on specific projects that Hurricane Sandy relief funding is directed towards on the ground.

Rep. Israel wrote to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to urge him to launch a website and post information on how all federal funding for Sandy relief is distributed. By making this information publicly available, the website will allow local municipalities to make certain that resources are being used for the highest priority community rebuilding projects.

“The Sandy Recovery bill represents long overdue relief for my constituents and communities across New York. The homeowners and businesses that I represent have already gone through so much, but it’s time to make certain this recovery is bold and implemented quickly. That includes having an open and transparent process so taxpayers and municipalities can see exactly how funds are being spent to rebuild and protect their communities,” said Israel.

“Hurricane Sandy was the super storm that all emergency professionals were wary of. The storm that tested the resolve of emergency personnel and systems alike. Now we have to reassure our communities that the funds that come from Washington are going to the projects identified by local officials and leaders in the community. It is a pleasure for me to join Congressman Israel and this distinguished Working Group to ensure that these funds bring our communities back to pre-Sandy conditions and where needed, protection for the future through a comprehensive mitigation plan,” Petrone said.

The $50 billion aid package allows the Small Business Administration to offer direct loans to small businesses trying to get back on their feet, FEMA to provide support to families that lost everything, rebuild critical infrastructure with transportation projects and support Army Corps projects to restore our coastal communities. A comprehensive summary of the Sandy Relief funding bill is on Rep. Israel’s website at www.Israel.house.gov/Sandy.

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