Will Snow Money be Used for Sandy Debris Removal?
The threat of blizzards is coming to a close and that’s why Assembly members Ron Dancer and Amy Handlin are sponsoring a bill that would allow towns and counties to ease costs for property taxpayers by using surplus snow funds to remove debris left by a natural disaster.
They’re hoping the measure can pass quickly and the snow removal money could be used to help the Superstorm Sandy clean-up efforts.
“When they’re blocking our roads or creating other problems, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about three feet of snow, a downed tree or a refrigerator,” says Dancer. “We can give local officials the flexibility to remove hazards from their communities by using money in a reserve fund for this purpose during emergencies.”
Since 2001, counties and municipalities have been allowed to bank unused money budgeted for snow and ice removal in mild winters. The new bill would allow local officials to use these funds to clear debris after a disaster that results in an official emergency declaration by the President of Governor.
“Communities struck by disaster should have all the tools necessary to manage their budgets and mitigate clean-up costs for property taxpayers,” contends Handlin. “A well-run town that has saved its pennies for a rainy – or a snow day in this case – should be allowed to use its emergency funds to clean up after similar emergencies.”
The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee has approved legislation. It’s now up to the Speaker to decide when and if to post the measure for a full vote.