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Queens Chronicle

$26M from FEMA for Sandy cleanup costs

Funds will go to Dept. of Sanitation

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Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 10:30 am

New York’s two U.S. senators announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is reimbursing the Department of Sanitation more than $26 million in cleanup costs related to Hurricane Sandy.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said Thursday the $26,335,600.27 in FEMA funds will go to cover overtime costs for uniformed workers between Oct. 30 and Nov. 16. In the month after the storm, Sanitation crews worked around the clock to clean up debris left behind by Hurricane Sandy’s winds and storm surge and personal items tossed out of flooded homes during cleanup efforts.

The department was praised by many residents and officials for the job that was done, including receiving a standing ovation from the Howard Beach community at a town hall on Nov 20.

Some Sanitation workers were on the job for 24 straight days between Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on Oct. 29 until the entire department was given a day off on Thanksgiving.

At a November meeting of the Queens Borough Board, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said the department picked up over 265,000 tons of trash related to the hurricane in the first three weeks after the storm. That includes damage from fallen trees, poles, and other structures as well as personal items tossed after the floods.

City Comptroller John Liu announced last month that his office had released $22 million in emergency money for the Sanitation Department. Mayor Bloomberg said last month he expected much of the cost to be reimbursed by FEMA.

The Obama administration has asked Congress to allocate $50 billion in federal aid for hurricane-ravaged localities, including New York City, though the governors of the three hardest-hit states — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — have asked for $83 billion.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said his agency has another $4.2 billion it can allocate for recovery efforts and has already spent $2 billion since the storm.

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