Senate panel passes bill aimed at transparency in Sandy aid
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- People affected by Superstorm Sandy would be owed a timeline detailing when state aid would be distributed under a bill advancing in the state Legislature.
The Senate budget committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would require the Department of Community Affairs to create individualized schedules for applicants to the state's Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigations program. The bill also would require the department to set quarterly goals for aid distribution.
Homeowners and lawmakers have said getting aid is sometimes a long and difficult process.
Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney said: "Many of the people who lost their homes or businesses to Sandy have been victimized again by a recovery process that has been too slow and confusing."
Acting Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman has said about 8,400 homeowners will receive state grants, with many being approved by summer.
The measure calls for establishing a way to let aid applicants request their timeline on the Internet and to get assistance through a hotline.
The October 2012 storm resulted in the deaths of 72 people along the East Coast and caused damage up to $50 billion. It's New Jersey's worst natural disaster.