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Sandy Money to be Used for Seaside Cleanup – Good Idea or Not? [POLL]

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Yeah, I thought I was seeing things too when I read the story.

Apparently some of the money left over from Hurricane Sandy relief will be used to help clean up the boardwalk charred by the fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights last week; as well as being used for grants to businesses who may not have had enough insurance.

The stipulation is that the official determination as to what caused the fire has to be announced; which, as of this writing, has yet to happen. (We should know more by the afternoon, yet preliminary reports indicate that the cause was accidental.)

According to this:

New Jersey can use federal money intended for superstorm Sandy recovery to repair damage from a fire that ravaged a boardwalk community last week but should wait until investigators determine the cause, federal officials said Monday.

“We advised the state that the Sandy money is a possible resource to them, to the degree that this fire exacerbated their Sandy recovery efforts,” said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is monitoring the state’s $1.8 billion recovery program. “We’ve also advised the state that they should await the results of the investigation before committing any funds.”

On Monday, Christie pledged to use federal money for debris removal and for grants to businesses after a fire destroyed a stretch of boardwalk and 50 businesses in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, some of them recently repaired.

The state should wait for the investigation because the cause of the fire could affect private insurance payouts to businesses, Sullivan said. The federal disaster money can only be used to fill gaps not covered by private insurance and other recovery payments. There had been no determination of the cause as of Monday evening.

Christie said in a statement that, under the state’s current plan for spending recovery money, demolition and debris removal was an eligible expense. Businesses that already receiving disaster recovery grants may apply for more money, he said.

“We’re moving as swiftly and aggressively as we can to help these communities and their boardwalk businesses rebuild from this unfortunate stumbling block to our overall Sandy recovery,” Governor Christie said in a statement. ”The extensive damage to the remaining structures is a safety hazard, so it’s important they are removed quickly.”

I would agree that cleaning the rubble from the boardwalk should be priority one.
And I don’t think there’s a one of us that doesn’t feel for the businesses who’ve lost everything; and the community at large as a result of the fire.

But there are hundreds of families still left without homes, indeed, still waiting to see dollar one of whatever relief was to be doled out as a result of the storm, which will have affected us almost a year ago.

What about them? Or have we forgotten so soon?

And of these businesses that didn’t have enough insurance in case something like this were to happen, should we be on the hook for helping get them back on their feet?

You be the judge!

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