Addabbo Applauds Senate Approval of Bill Package Addressing Hurricane Sandy Concerns

Addabbo’s Legislation to Help Streamline Rebuilding of Breezy Point Homes Receives Senate Passage

Queens, NY, June 18, 2013 -- NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens), a member of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy, today applauded the Senate approval of a comprehensive package of legislation – ranging from rebuilding assistance, to tax breaks, to mold remediation – designed to address a variety of issues associated with the devastating late October storm.

“As the Senate representative of communities that were particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, I am deeply gratified that my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle and from all around New York State joined with me in approving legislation that will help us continue to rebuild and recover from the storm while better preparing ourselves for such disastrous events in the future,” Addabbo said. 

The senator said he is especially pleased that his legislation (S.3736) to assist the residents of Breezy Point in more quickly rebuilding their homes won Senate approval.

“In the wake of the horrendous Hurricane Sandy flooding and six-alarm-fire that erupted in Breezy Point during the storm, homeowners have needed a helping hand to avoid unnecessary red tape and other roadblocks in their rebuilding efforts,” Addabbo said. “This bill has already passed the Assembly, so the next step should be Governor’s Cuomo’s desk for final approval. I hope he will embrace the importance of easing building permit requirements for Breezy Point residents who would otherwise be forced to face interminable delays in reconstructing their badly damaged or completely destroyed homes.”

In addition to giving final passage to Breezy Point building permit legislation, Addabbo noted that the Senate “took other vital action to support Hurricane Sandy survivors throughout his district and elsewhere in New York who lost so much during the storm and whose resilience and desire to move forward is an inspiration to all of us. Whether homeowners or businesses, they need our assistance to come back stronger and better than ever in the days, months and years to come. 

Bills approved during the special “Hurricane Sandy” Senate session address:

Property Tax Relief: S.3702 would enable New York City to provide real property tax rebates to local homeowners and tenant stockholders whose properties were severely damaged in the storm. A similar bill (S.2121) provides property tax relief for residents outside of New York City who also suffered severe damage to their homes. 

Local Government Sandy Recovery Flexibility: Three bills are designed to make it easier for local governments to finance repair and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Sandy. S.4725 extends the maximum time for repayment of money transferred between one municipal corporation and another as long as the resources are being used for expenses connected to the storm. S.4726 allows municipalities and school districts more flexibility in using capital reserve funds for Sandy purposes without a public referendum, and requires repayment of the money within five years. S.4729 would provide greater borrowing flexibility for municipalities, school districts and fire districts. 

Filing Fee Cost Exemptions: Two bills were approved to save filing fee expenses for property owners in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy who obtained federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loans in the wake of the storm in order to begin rebuilding (S.4554,S.5796 – New York City specific).

Storm Expenditure Information and Accountability: S.4666 puts into place a mechanism, involving the State Division of the Budget and the State Comptroller’s Office, to closely oversee, track and regularly report upon New York State’s expenditures on behalf of Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding, including the state’s use of federal funds. 

Disaster Preparedness: S.4778 seeks to establish a more comprehensive statewide planning process for natural disaster preparedness.

Out-of-State Emergency Workers: S.5323 would address certain tax-related barriers that serve as a disincentive for out-of-state infrastructure restoration workers who want to lend a hand on a temporary, rapid-response basis during emergencies like Hurricane Sandy.

Insurance Issues: S.3850 was passed to provide tax credits to businesses in heightened flood risk zones to encourage them to purchase flood insurance, as well as an initiative (S.2338) to examine issues affecting the coastal homeowners insurance market in New York. 

Mold Assessment and Remediation Services: S.3667was approved to regulate and license those who perform mold assessment and remediation services to make sure that homeowners who need this kind of work done to make their homes livable again aren’t victimized by unscrupulous or unqualified contractors. 

Additional Essential Personnel Designations: S.4719designates home health aides and hospice workers as ‘essential personnel’ during emergencies to help ensure that people who are very ill, frail or otherwise unable to leave their homes get the critical medical and other aid they need.

“While there are, and will be, many more issues related to Hurricane Sandy that demand swift and effective government action, I believe the package of legislation approved by the New York State Senate will significantly advance our recovery and rebuilding efforts,” Addabbo said. “As legislators we cannot rest until our residents have fully recovered from the ravages caused by Sandy."