Southold still waiting for FEMA reimbursement

TROY GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork.
TROY GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork in October 2012.

About eight months after Hurricane Sandy, some Long Island municipalities are still waiting for cleanup and repair funding promised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Southold Town is on that list, but while the town has received the bulk of the reimbursement it requested, it has yet to receive more than $400,000 in funds related to a winter nor’easter that tore up Town Beach and part of Soundview Avenue in Southold .

The blizzard struck on Dec. 26, 2010, causing significant erosion along the bay and ripping away parts of two houses. Much of the asphalt in the parking lot at Town Beach along the Sound also was damaged.

FEMA declared the storm a “major disaster” about two weeks later, and received federal aid requests totaling more than $37 million, according to the agency’s website.

Town comptroller John Cushman said Southold sought $564,268 in storm-related expenses but has received only about $100,000.

The town is also waiting on about $175,500 of the town’s $685,000 claim related to Hurricane Sandy.

Riverhead Town is also waiting for Sandy-related FEMA funds, said Police Chief David Hegermiller, who handled the funding applications.

Donald Caetano, a representative for FEMA, said any funding provided by the federal government through FEMA would be doled out by a New York State management office.

“We don’t pay the applicant directly,” Mr. Caetano said. “We pay the state and then the state pays them.”

Mr. Cushman said the town is working with a state emergency management office to try to resolve the issue.

A representative for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services could not immediately be reached for comment.

Supervisor Scott Russell said the town had also been waiting on FEMA funding related to damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, but that money was recently delivered to the town.

He said discussions about reimbursement for the 2010 nor’easter, like any storm designated a disaster by FEMA, is complicated in that it includes several agencies.

“We have been contacting our representatives at FEMA and the New York Emergency Management with regularity to find out what happened to our reimbursement,” Mr. Russell said.

He said the town has not yet alerted Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) about the missing funds.

“I have waited on contacting Mr. Bishop until I have exhausted all other options,” Mr. Russell said.

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