Bill advances to match storm-prep funds with need
TRENTON — A disaster-preparedness bill that its sponsors said will allocate state funding for emergencies to counties most in need was approved Monday by the Assembly Appropriation Committee.
The bill would require the state Office of Emergency Management to establish county storm-preparedness funding programs for during and after severe weather events. Assessments would occur every two years to determine which counties would be most in need of emergency funds.
The legislation was sponsored by Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic; Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, both D-Monmouth; and Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land, both D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic.
“Areas like the Delaware Bayshore in Cumberland County had to fight for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when they ought to have been at the top of the list for the most assistance right away,” Andrzejczak said.
Money for the county programs would be provided through state appropriations, federal grants and other funds to purchase emergency management facilities, emergency equipment, flood-mitigation services and emergency management vehicles, bill sponsors said.
“More than four years after Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey continues to repair the damage, and families continue to deal with the financial and emotional toll of the storm” Mazzeo said in a statement. “Fostering connections between the state and counties most prone to catastrophic storm damage can reduce the likelihood of similar devastation in the future.”