Sandy Recovery Funds In Manahawkin, Elsewhere Not Enough, Christie Says

Governor took no questions at event held in Stafford Township firehouse

by Patricia A. Miller

The $37 billion in federal funds allocated for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are not enough to cover the cost of recovery, Gov. Chris Christie said today.

"We asked for a lot more than we got," Christie said at an appearance at the Stafford Volunteer Company firehouse in Manahawkin late this morning.

"None of us need to be a math wizard to figure out it's not going to be enough money to cover everything," Christie said.

The governor made several oblique references to the "Bridgegate" scandal, noting the large phalanx of photographers and reporters present at the firehouse event.

"There are all kinds of challenges, as you know, that come everyday to test you," he said.

He introduced a woman identified only as "Amy," a Sandy victim whose home was destroyed in the storm. She spoke in a trembling voice.

"I've been so blessed," she said. "I could not be where I am today without the help I received to get back home. It's just such an honor to be here with the governor."

Christie told the crowd of about 300 his office and the members of the state Department of Community Affairs devote 50 percent of their time each day to Sandy recovery.

The state was able to funnel some of Sandy business recovery funds into the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) and Homeowner's Resettlement Program, the governor said.

State officials and the state Department of Community Affairs have focused first on getting money to low and middle-income residents, he said.

"We help people who need help the most, then move on down the line," Christie said.

The governor said he understands residents' impatience with receiving funding to repair or elevate their homes.

"Is it as fast as I'd like?" he said. "No. "

There were many funding abuses after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and more proof of need is now required," Christie said.

"We need proof of income, assets...," he said. "Every time we ask for more paperwork, it's more time. I get that."

Christie was accompanied by DCA director Richard J. Constable III, Stafford Mayor John Spodofora, Township Administrator James Moran and several members of the Township Council.

The governor stuck to his predication made after the October 29, 2012 that recovery would take at least two years.

"Recovery from Sandy is going to take a long time," Christie said. "At least two years before most people in the state. Things don't happen overnight.  We've never done this before."

Roughly 340,000 homes in New Jersey were significantly damaged or destroyed by Sandy and shore businesses were hurt, he said.

"I can tell you I was thinking we are not to have any summer (2013)," he said. "I was scared to deal with the devastation...what that would do to the shore."

Christie pledged to keep pushing for more funding and continuing recovery efforts.

"We won't rest until every Sandy-impacted homeowner or renter is back in their homes," he said.

The governor took no questions and left the event quickly after it was over.


foggyworld January 17, 2014 at 08:37 PM
A big part of what seems to be wrong is that the Governor quickly gave all of his responsibility and power to FEMA which is knocking its socks off making it close to impossible for so many to return to a reasonably compliant home. The Governor wanted to do photo ops and get re-elected and move on up rather than help the people. Last week FEMA announced that if you paint sheet rock or sand the tape on the slab level, your house will be out of compliance. They are presuming that paint indicates that someone is living down there. The fact is that in our house where no one would dream of living on the slab level, the sheetrock was painted with anti mold chemicals added to the paint when the house was built in an effort to keep mold problems away. It worked. And if you don't paint that tape the moisture in the air will just speed along the process of its lifting itself off the sheetrock. FEMA is determined to push the middle class out of the Shore and Bay areas and it is our Governor who put them in that position. There is no reasonable approach to anything when one deals with FEMA which is famous for being one big screwed up federal agency. Thanks Governor and yes, it is your fault.
Patricia A. Miller January 18, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Hi Sue, We were told the governor had a private meeting with Amy - the woman who spoke during the event - and family members, which no one was granted access to. Then he came out into the firehouse bay, talked, left swiftly. There was no chance for anyone in the audience to ask him a question. The press was told no questions would be taken.
John Eric Mangino January 18, 2014 at 01:37 PM
Who says Amy represents Us in this Town
Mac January 18, 2014 at 01:52 PM
the look on the Governor's face in this article's sister article
Sean Conneamhe January 19, 2014 at 05:17 AM
"Impeach Christie..."


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