Standing along California Place North in Island Park, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito surveyed damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to property owners’ bulkheads along California Canal. The officials assailed the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the NY Rising program for “flip-flopping” on providing funding to repair the bulkheads, which protect local homes from storm damage and tidal flooding. The state originally approved grant monies for the waterway fortification repairs, but subsequently “Grinched” homeowners, rescinding the funding at the start of the holiday season. The town officials have commenced a petition drive, calling upon the Governor to honor the commitment that his Office of Storm Recovery made to Sandy victims with regard to bulkhead repair funding.
“What is worse than being victimized by Hurricane Sandy and having your home and life turned upside down by the Superstorm?” asked Santino. “The only thing that I can think of is dealing with indifferent state officials and inept bureaucrats who have victimized homeowners who were slammed by Sandy for a second time, first approving and then revoking monies to make necessary Hurricane repairs.”
Residents along California Place North and California Place South were assured by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery that they would receive funding to maintain bulkheads on their property. The agency apparently reversed its position in November of this year, indicating it was rescinding the grant for the bulkhead repair based on the fact the privately-owned bulkheads and the adjacent homes are bisected by a community roadway. The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery reasoned that the bulkheads did not provide direct protection of homes on California Place North and California
“The state’s reasoning, or lack thereof, defies logic,” said D’Esposito. “The California Canal bulkheads are the last line of defense between the flood waters of our south shore bays and the homes of Sandy victims. It’s time for state officials to pull their heads out of the sand and help these homeowners.”
Santino and D’Esposito called the state’s “flip flop” unfair, observing that some neighbors have contracted with construction companies after being assured that the state would reimburse/fund repair costs. In response to the state’s taciturn approach and dishonest manner on the funding for bulkhead repairs, the town officials announced that they are gathering petition signatures from neighbors, demanding the Governor intercede and honor his Office of Storm Recovery’s original commitment to pay for the repairs.
“The Governor’s staff in his Office of Storm Recovery is wreaking havoc on neighbors who have already endured enough heartache and hardship in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” concluded Santino. “We are asking the Governor not to ‘Grinch’ Sandy victims this holiday season and to do the honorable thing. His office committed to fund these needed Sandy repairs, and he should keep his word.”