The New York State Senate’s Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy Recovery today visited communities on Long Island to tour storm damage and speak with local officials, business leaders, and individuals about the progress and challenges of the ongoing recovery efforts.
Today’s meeting focused on Hurricane Sandy’s impacts in Nassau and Suffolk counties and included tours of Freeport, Island Park, and Oceanside to view the extensive storm damage and recovery efforts. This was the second meeting of the Bipartisan Senate Task Force for Hurricane Sandy Recovery, which first met on December 10, 2012, in the Rockaways in Queens.
Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was joined by task force Co-Chair Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) and members Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Senator Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens), Senator Martin J. Golden (R-Brooklyn), Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester), and a representative from the office of Senator James Sanders, Jr. (D-Queens). Senators Kemp Hannon (R,C,I- Garden City) and Carl L. Marcellino (R- Syosset) also attended.
Following the tour, the task force held a roundtable discussion at the Freeport Recreation Center that was attended by county, town, and village officials including Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi, Incorporated Village of Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick, Mastic Beach Village Mayor Bill Biondi, and representatives from the offices of the Suffolk County Executive and Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay.
The participants provided critical input about the challenges they are facing and what steps can be taken to help improve preparedness and response for future storms.
The task force is identifying areas most in need of recovery assistance and reviewing the rebuilding and storm planning policies to remove roadblocks and ensure better storm preparedness. The task force will develop legislative solutions to implement the recommendations made by the NYS 2100 Commission, the NYS Respond Commission and the NYS Ready Commission. Members will also be traveling to other areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Senator Skelos said, “The members of our task force saw first-hand today how much more work has to be done to bring our communities back after the devastating damage from Hurricane Sandy. In my district and across the entire region, people are trying to rebuild homes and businesses, and critical parts of our infrastructure are still badly damaged. Our goal is to ensure people receive the help they need now and that we are better prepared to withstand and respond to natural disasters in the future.”
Task force members play pivotal roles in developing the short- and long-term plans that will help communities get back on their feet following Hurricane Sandy. Each task force member represents one of New York State’s hardest hit areas and is thus uniquely qualified to pinpoint those neighborhoods and businesses that are most in need.
Senator David Carlucci said, “While many regions throughout the state were affected by Hurricane Sandy, now is the time to come together and deliver a unified response that meets the needs of all New Yorkers. The people of the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City can rest assured that Albany hears their concerns and is working to deliver the resources needed to bounce back stronger than ever. Scores of homeowners and neighborhoods are not out of the woods just yet, particularly those who suffered flooding and structural damage to their homes and properties. By working together in a bipartisan fashion, the Senate Bipartisan Task Force will continue to find ways we can be most helpful to those affected by this storm.”