FIFTH DISTRICT LAWMAKERS ASK GOVERNOR CHRISTIE TO SEEK FEDERAL AID FOR STORM CLEANUP

(TRENTON) — Senator Donald Norcross and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson (all D-Camden and Gloucester) today asked Governor Christie to seek federal emergency aid for the South Jersey region — particularly, the counties within their district — to offset cleanup costs associated with the weekend winter storm that battered the area.

“All accounts so far indicate that our local and county emergency workers and officials have done an outstanding job of responding to the crisis. That said, they will need emergency help from the federal government in order to help pay for the cleanup. Otherwise, we risk piling on an additional, undue burden on the property taxpayers of the region,” the lawmakers said in a letter sent today to the governor.

The legislators urged Governor Christie to invoke the state of emergency declaration, which, if granted, would release federal disaster aid to supplement the cost of local recovery efforts.

“Any help we can get to ease the financial burden on our taxpayers is worth seeking,” said Senator Norcross. “This storm ravaged our area and cleanup is going to require an enormous amount of money. Residents already struggling in the down economy cannot bear the additional, unexpected costs of storm recovery efforts.”

“Federal disaster funding is made available for this precise use. It would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to get help for our counties and municipalities to offset the cost of cleanup in the wake of this paralyzing storm,” added Assemblyman Fuentes.

“Local crews did their part in acting quickly to ensure the safety of our roads for residents,” said Assemblyman Wilson. “The state must now act swiftly to ensure our taxpayers get the opportunity for protection from tax hikes resulting from that cleanup.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last week declared a state of emergency for the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem for the snowstorm that hit the region Dec. 19-20, 2009.

A copy of the letter the legislators sent to Gov. Christie is attached below.

February 6, 2010

Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Governor Christie:

Today the Southern New Jersey region experienced its second major snowstorm of the 2009-2010 winter seasons as much of the area is now covered in over two feet of snow. As you know, extreme weather such as this puts great strain on our residents and businesses. Furthermore, our local municipalities and counties will incur enormous costs as a result of these storms. We therefore respectfully urge you to declare a state of emergency for the South Jersey region and particularly the counties of Camden and Gloucester.

All accounts so far indicate that our local and county emergency workers and officials have done an outstanding job of responding to the crisis. That said, they will need emergency help from the federal government in order to help pay for the cleanup. Otherwise, we risk piling on an additional, undue burden on the property taxpayers of the region.

Thank you for your consideration of this request on behalf of the people of Camden and Gloucester counties. We will continue to work alongside your administration as we deal with the aftermath of this event.

Sincerely,

Donald Norcross
Senator, 5th District

Angel Fuentes
Assemblyman, 5th District

Gilbert L. Wilson
Assemblyman, 5th District

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