Long BeachBarrierIsland is my top priority,” said Assemblyman Weisenberg. “I will continue to do everything in my power to get this project done.”
Typically, the federal government provides 90%, or more, of the funding necessary for these projects, with the state and local governments responsible for the balance. While Congressman Peter King inserted $4.1 million for the Jones Inlet dredging project in the U.S. House of Representatives’ budget proposal, the U.S. Senate failed to include a similar appropriation in its budget plan. As a result, no federal funding is available for this project.
To ensure that this critically-important project could be completed, regardless of federal funding, Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Weisenberg secured $7.6 million in state resources to fund the entire cost of this project last June. For the past year, Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Weisenberg have partnered with Supervisor Murray and the Town of Hempstead, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”), the Office of State Comptroller and the state Office of Attorney General to complete the necessary agreement.
During this period, Senator Skelos, Assemblyman Weisenberg and Supervisor Murray developed a first-of-its-kind agreement through which the Army Corps of Engineers would manage the dredging and beach nourishment project, the state would fund the total cost (approximately $7 million) and the Town would indemnify the Army Corps for any liability. In addition, the Town would perform ongoing maintenance dredging and beach nourishment work in the future. Although this novel approach received requisite approvals from the state Office of Attorney General, the Office of State Comptroller and, for more than one year, was jointly negotiated with the Army Corps of Engineers and the DEC, the DEC halted the agreement at its final stage in May.
On June 5th, the State Senate passed legislation authored by Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Weisenberg (S.6015/A.8878) that specifically directs the DEC to spend the $7.6 million “for any and all costs associated with dredging of Jones Inlet, NY and the reuse of the resulting material for purposes of beach nourishment in the severely eroded areas of PointLookoutBeach.” Last week, Assemblyman Weisenberg successfully moved this legislation through the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee and is working to secure its passage in the State Assembly before the end of the legislative session on Thursday, June 21st.