Sandy Aid Equity Bill on Christie’s Desk [AUDIO]
The way New Jersey doles out the second round of federal Sandy relief aid would be more equitable and more transparent, according to the sponsors of a bill that has passed the full legislature and now awaits action from Gov. Chris Christie.
“What has happened in the past, we have had towns that received funds, but hardly got any damage whatsoever,” said Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield). “I feel the initial funds should have been spent in a lot of different ways.”
Under the legislation, the second round of Sandy funds would be doled out to counties and towns in direct proportion to the damage sustained by the storm. Counties and towns that didn’t get any first round aid would be given priority this time around. Renters would get more and additional attention would be paid to minorities.
“It certainly seems to be that the aid wasn’t getting to the right places, so now this bill is going to be addressing that,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield). “This will also ensure that going forward, God forbid if something like this happens again, that we’ll see some relief and that people get the money that they need to get.”
The measure would also require the Department of Community Affairs to post on its website any information about how aid has been and will be allocated, and create clear procedures for how aid is applied for and granted. The DCA would also have to establish a tracking system so that people can check on the status of their aid application.
The bill was unanimously approved Thursday by the state Senate and General Assembly.