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Sunday, April 20, 2014

$1.1M grant to ease burden on L.B. Building Dep’t
City says NY Rising money will start flowing to businesses
BY Alexandra Spychalsky

The City Council approved a $1.1 million state grant at Tuesday’s meeting, which members said will ease the burden on the city’s Building Department in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

City Manager Jack Schnirman said that members of the department have been swamped with work since the storm. Between the high demand for permits and inspections and a limited staff, Schnirman said the department has been forced to work long hours to complete requests.

“We don’t want residents to be delayed in getting their permits,” said Building Commissioner Scott Kemins. “My goal is to get everyone home as quick as possible, and if I have to work till 8 or 9 o’clock a couple of nights a week, so be it. These are my neighbors.”

Kemins said the money will go toward staffing the Building Department with additional inspectors and clerical workers, to help expedite the volume of requests the department is facing, and the influx it will face as residents begin to receive their NY Rising grant awards. The $1.1 million Disaster Recovery Block Grant awarded to Long Beach was determined by the number of people in the city who applied for a NY Rising grant, Schnirman said.

“We’re so excited,” said council Vice President Fran Adelson. “I rebuilt my house and I know how hard they’ve been working. They’re short-staffed, they stay late at night. They really need the help.”

On Tuesday, the city also announced that grant funding from the NY Rising program will start flowing to small businesses. Schnirman said that the state and the City Council worked to streamline the application process so that more than 300 businesses can apply for funding.

“Governor Cuomo has done a phenomenal job cutting through the red tape and streamlining the process so money could flow to where it is so desperately needed,” said council President Scott Mandel. “We encourage all of our Long Beach businesses that have not yet applied for these grants to do so immediately.”

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