The New York State Senate’s Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy Recovery comes to Nanuet on Friday to meet directly with local officials and others. The Task Force will hold a roundtable discussion with local officials, utility company representatives and emergency management personnel about the status ongoing recovery efforts in Rockland and Westchester counties. The invited participants will speak about the challenges they are facing and how preparedness and response for future storms can be improved.
More than 200,000 Rockland County businesses and homes suffered power outages, with nearly 40 percent of Orange and Rockland customers still in the dark one week after the storm. According to reports, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office presented financial costs to congressional leaders that showed Rockland County sustaining over $16 million in government response and repair costs, $35 million in housing damage and $90 million of business damage expenses.
Senators on the Task Force include David Carlucci (D-Rockland/ Westchester), Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and James Sanders (D-Queens). They are expected to be joined at the 10 a.m. meeting at the Nanuet Library by Assembly members Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland), James Skoufis (D-Orange) Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) and a representative from the office of Annie Rabbit (R-Orange).
Among those expected to share the local perspective of Hurricane Sandy’s impact are Town Supervisors Alex Gromack of Clarkstown, Andy Stewart of Orangetown, Christopher St. Lawrence of Ramapo, Howard Phillips of Haverstraw, and Sue Donnelly of Ossining. Other elected officials include: Stony Point Councilman Jim McDonnell, Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco, Nyack Mayor Jennifer White, Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer and a representative of Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders.
Utilities, emergency services and other organizations will be represented by Frank Peverly, Vice President of Operations, Orange and Rockland Vice President Frank Peverly, Steve Reich, of Local Laborers, United Water New York Division General Manager Mike Pointing, a member of Spring Hill Ambulance and Ruth Ann Norton, Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning.
A statement from the Task Force noted it is identifying areas most in need of recovery assistance and reviewing rebuilding and storm planning policies to speed up the process and ensure better storm preparedness. Its members have held similar sessions in the Rockaways, and Nassau and Suffolk counties. The Task Force will develop legislative solutions to implement the recommendations made by Governor Cuomo's NYS 2100 Commission, the NYS Respond Commission and the NYS Ready Commission.