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Sandy Aid Hearings Slated for Next Week [AUDIO]

The Christie administration promises residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy will be part of the process as the state creates a plan on how to spend the next round of federal storm aid.

Three public hearings will be held next week to solicit comments on the proposed plan, which devotes approximately half of the $1.46 billion to housing assistance programs. The balance targets the state’s infrastructure systems, home buyouts and another summer tourism campaign.

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable
Dept. of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable talks to the press and residents about the second round of federal Superstorm Sandy Recovery Funds. (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

“We are expecting a very robust dialogue,” said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable at a Keansburg press conference. “We will absolutely take public comment seriously.”

HEARINGS:

  • Feb. 11: Stockton University, Performing Arts Center (Atlantic County), 4 – 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 12: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Campus Center (Essex County), 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 13: Brookdale Community College, Robert, J. Collins Arena (Monmouth County), 4 – 7 p.m.

“We are going to be taking comments not just during these public hearings, but also through written form from individuals throughout the state,” Constable added.

Once public comment is incorporated into the draft plan, it can be sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for approval. Constable estimated final approval will not arrive until May.

New Jersey received $1.83 billion in storm aid last year; nearly $1.2 billion has been distributed to Sandy victims or is currently in the pipeline. Gov. Chris Christie said the majority of aid is aimed toward housing because that’s the area still in need of the most help.

“Boardwalks — we rebuilt. Business areas — we’ve been able to get back together. Those are the easy things,” Christie said. “Being able to go through the process of helping to rebuild someone’s home, elevate someone’s home, is much more difficult.”

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