Disaster relief from Hurricane Sandy will remain a top priority in the new year for state and county lawmakers.
State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Centre, said that one of his top priorities would be to “work with Governor Cuomo to ensure that my district and other areas still struggling with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy have the resources needed to recover, restore and rebuild.”
Skelos said that he would also pursue the early passage of a fiscally responsible state budget to reduce spending and cut taxes; anti-crime legislation to make schools and communities safer; and efforts to make New York more economically competitive and to help businesses create jobs.
County Legislator Joseph Scannell, a Democrat from Baldwin, agreed that Hurricane Sandy relief was the biggest issue the Legislature would address, and said that he would like to see legislation requiring gas stations to have backup generators. “Most of them had gas, but a lot didn’t have backup generators,” Scannell said, recalling the lack of working service stations after the storm. “It was devastating that people, who already had to deal with the storm, had to deal with hours of gas lines. We hope that this will get bipartisan support and pass this year.”
County Legislator Denise Ford, a Republican from Long Beach, said that the storm is still at the top of her agenda for 2013. “I’m so entrenched with this whole issue of Hurricane Sandy that it’s hard to move on to the next issue,” Ford said. “For me, I think the goals would be to try and restore our neighborhoods as best we could. To try and minimize the financial impact, if possible. We’re still looking to see how much money we’ll be getting from the federal government.”
She noted that among the other issues she would like to see addressed in the coming year are changes to Austin Boulevard in Island Park (lane reconfiguration, additional traffic signals, extended sidewalks), repairs at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway and increased bicycle safety education. “After Hurricane Sandy destroyed the boardwalk, we will now have more people riding in the streets,” Ford said. “People will have to know traffic safety.”