Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today delivered the first reimbursements since Hurricane Sandy hit, totaling more than $40 million to help remove debris in Nassau County that was caused by the extensive damage of Hurricane Sandy. Today, the State released more than $24 million in reimbursement money to be allocated to the City of Long Beach, and almost $16 million will be allocated to Nassau County Public Works to help remove debris that pose public nuisances and a public health hazard in those communities that were most impacted by the storm.

The Governor visited Long Beach today to allocate these funds.

“Today we are delivering the first federal aid to the hardest hit areas of New York State as they continue to recover from the damage,” Governor Cuomo said. “This money will significantly help New Yorkers rebuild communities on Long Island and throughout the impacted areas. With the arrival of more support, New York will continue to move forward and build back stronger than before.”

These reimbursements provide the following amounts to Long Island local governments:

• City of Long Beach will receive $24,315,825 for citywide debris removal
• Nassau County Public Works will receive $15,917,989 for debris removal

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, “Nassau County was hit the hardest by Hurricane Sandy, and our families and communities are nowhere near a full recovery. This FEMA grant will go far in helping us to clean up and remove dangerous debris, so that we can clear our homes, roads and neighborhoods and be ready for rebuilding. I thank Governor Cuomo for his continuing commitment to Nassau County and FEMA for this important grant.”

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said, “Hurricane Sandy caused horrific devastation in our city. The storm wiped out our roads, beaches and homes, leaving behind trash and debris that are obstructive and hazardous. The funds provided by FEMA will help Long Beach clean-up as quickly as possible. There is a long road to recovery, but we are grateful for the assistance from Governor Cuomo today.”

Today’s reimbursement was delivered following a coordinated application process with state and federal officials. A State Public Assistance Liaison worked with a FEMA Public Assistance Coordinator to help local governments develop a claim by documenting what work has already been done and what work still needs to be done in the future to fully recover from the damage caused by the storm. More Public Assistance funding is anticipated to offset county costs for debris removal and disposal.

Long Beach and Nassau County will use these funds for contractor costs for construction and demolition costs, sand and vegetative debris removal as well as tree removal, reduction, hauling, disposal.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program has approved almost $16 million to reimburse Nassau County for 75 percent of the costs of overtime for 270 employees and the rental of heavy duty wood chippers to reduce the volume of the debris.

For debris removal to be eligible, the damage must be direct result of Hurricane Sandy, and the work must have been necessary to:

• Eliminate an immediate threat to lives, public health and safety,

• Eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public and private property when the measures are cost effective, or

• Ensure the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large.

Strong winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy brought down trees, tree limbs and power lines throughout the New York area. Collecting and clearing out piles of debris has been one of the most difficult and time-consuming challenges of the recovery. But despite this, the debris piles are disappearing.