Washington to cover all of NYC's Sandy costs
Federal dollars will cover all of New York City's costs associated with Hurricane Sandy, according to a report out Wednesday from the city's Independent Budget Office. About 90% of the total $6.3 billion in Sandy-related emergency and recovery spending will be funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The remaining 10% will be covered through community development block grant funds. "It's certainly what the city has been counting on, and it's good news we won't be left footing part of that bill ourselves," said Doug Turetsky, chief of staff at the Independent Budget Office. FEMA reimbursements for disasters start at 75%, and Congress has the ability to push that up to 90%. The new numbers, released as part of a wider examination of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's preliminary 2014 budget , offer the most specific breakdown of costs and intended uses of the federal aid. The report also provides the most up to date dollar figure for the cost of city labor associated with the storm—$341 million to cover staffing costs, about $188 million of which went to overtime pay for city staffers through March 14. For cleanup, relief and repair needs following the October storm, the city has been allocated $1.4 billion in aid from Washington. For capital needs like road reconstruction, fixing piers, parks and beaches, the city is receiving another $3.1 billion. That pot will be divvied up and committed to specific projects over the next two years. The city also received an additional $1.8 billion in federal community development funds, which will fund public housing and business recovery efforts. The city's Rapid Repairs program—the free program to help property owners make quick fixes to get heat, power and hot water back on—cost $500 million. Storm-damaged hospitals such as Bellevue, New York University Langone Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital received $100 million in aid. Other allocations include $61 million to fund debris removal and repairs in parks; $57 million for school repairs; and $34 million for demolition of uninhabitable homes. In terms of long-term capital construction projects, $824 million will be used to reconstruct roads, bridges and ferries through 2015. Another $528 million will go to beaches, boardwalks, parks and playgrounds. Sen. Charles Schumer also said he secured an additional $436 million for beachfront repairs in the Rockaways, Coney Island, Brighton Beach as well as areas of the state outside of New York City. It was not clear how much of that money would stay in the city, Mr. Turetsky said.
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