LITTLE FALLS, NJ (AP / CBSNewYork) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Gov. Chris Christie‘s request for a “major disaster declaration” to help towns and residents recover the costs from March floods.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: Taxpayers Sharing The Pain

FEMA told the governor the damage was not severe enough.

FEMA’s denial hurts in Little Falls. Mayor Mike DeFrancisci told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams, “That’s what you hear in people’s voices more than anything else. It’s the frustration with the flooding and now the frustration with a, you know, a bureaucratic system that’s saying that the damage wasn’t significant enough. Well, how do you tell people that when they had four feet of water in their homes and a year later that was exactly the same as the previous year. That’s significant to them.”

But in FEMA’s estimation, the flooding damage was not severe enough

In Little Falls, that means homeowners won’t qualify for aid and the township is out close to $2,000.

Even if water never touched their homes, taxpayers all share in the pain.

Christie had requested aid for Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris counties after rain-swollen rivers flooded streets and homes.

FEMA spokesman Don Caetano told The Record newspaper the agency found that 80 percent of homeowners affected were covered by insurance. Caetano says those who weren’t can work with local and state governments to get assistance.

The governor has 30 days to appeal.

Meanwhile, the state is assessing damage caused by flooding during last weekend’s rain storms.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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