Millions of dollars saved — government forgives Sandy loans to NJ towns
Municipalities ravaged by Superstorm Sandy are no longer on the hook to repay millions of dollars in loans from the federal government that were doled out to help them recover from the storm.
A bill signed by President Joe Biden includes forgiveness of Community Disaster Loans worth tens of millions of dollars that were awarded to several shore towns impacted by Sandy in 2012.
Without this move, according to New Jersey's congressional delegation, 18 New Jersey municipalities would still owe more than $25 million.
"Traditionally, these loans have been forgiven, but in the last few years there's been an effort to not let it happen," Congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, told New Jersey 101.5. "We did have to fight a long battle to get this done."
Pallone and Congressman Andy Kim, D-N.J. 3rd District, held a news conference in Toms River on Tuesday about the loan forgiveness.
“I’m proud to have fought for and won more than $12 million dollars in total loan forgiveness for several Ocean County towns and schools,” Kim said.
Pallone said this is great news for residents who may have seen the loan obligations trickle down to them in the way of increased taxes or reduced services.
"Forgiving the millions of dollars in Community Disaster Loans is a major step in finally putting Sandy behind us,” said Highlands Mayor Carolyn Broullon.
"Community Disaster Loan forgiveness means our residents won't have to be on the hook for millions of dollars on top of the devastation they have already had to endure,” added Keansburg Mayor George Hoff.
Pallone said the fight continues to end federal disaster loan repayments by individuals as well — he says the funding should have been awarded as grants, not loans. As of now, New Jersey residents have until 2023 to repay so-called "clawbacks" of funds related to Sandy unless those funds were obtained fraudulently.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.