FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The bipartisan New York State Senate task force on superstorm Sandy recovery met on Long Island to tour the damage two months after the storm hit and to discuss what needs to be done to help residents.
Before holding a round-table discussion, members of the task force visited Freeport, Oceanside and Island Park.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports[cbs-audio url=”http://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/hall.mp3″ size=”340px” download=”false” name=”Bipartisan Superstorm Sandy Task Force Members Tour Storm-Ravaged Parts Of Long Island” artist=”WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall”]
State Sen. Charles Fuschillo said they found that Sandy has not left, noting that there is still a lot of devastation including people without heat and electricity.
“We saw how Island Park’s Village Hall is non-existent and how critically important the federal funds are to New York State,” he told reporters including WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
In about a month, the task force will put out a report on what needs to be done to help the residents. The lawmakers said that includes fighting insurance companies on behalf of homeowners.
“We just visited a resident in Freeport that has over $100,000 in damage to her home and the insurance company has offered her 29-thousand dollars to rebuild. that is absurd,” Fuschillo said.
“We have a moral obligation to make sure that whatever we can do in Albany, whether it’s legislatively, talking to insurance companies, talking to FEMA, we have an obligation to make sure that people’s lives are restored,” state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos added.
The lawmakers said their goal is making recovery from the storm easier for affected residents.
“This task force will set the model for much of what will be done in the state of New York,” task force co-chair St. Sen. Malcolm Smith said.
The task force includes the new majority of Republicans allied with five breakaway Democrats.
Staten Island Republican Andrew Lanza and Queens Democrat Malcolm Smith are co-chairing the task force charged with identifying need and working on Sandy-related legislation.
The task force goals are to identify the areas most in need of recovery assistance, a task already under way by federal and Cuomo administration officials; review and improve rebuilding and storm planning policies, a task already assigned to one of the three commissions created after Sandy by Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and to develop legislation to implement findings of Cuomo’s commissions.
The members of the task force will tour and hold hearings in damaged communities across the New York metropolitan region.
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