Government forgives FEMA loans from Superstorm Sandy. Here’s what it means
Jersey Shore towns still owing millions of dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency loans following Superstorm Sandy will get a much-needed break - the loans were forgiven by the government.
"Saving a million here, 2 million there and these municipalities is going to go a long way, and that's money that can be better spent on perhaps maybe mitigation efforts, resiliency, somewhere else in the community where we can get the best thing for our buck,” says Sandy survivor Joe Mangino, with the NJ Organizing Project.
This means towns such as Toms River, Point Pleasant Beach and Keansburg who were on the hook for millions of dollars in loan repayments can use that money elsewhere.
"This is a big deal,” says Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan. “This represents hundreds of thousands of dollars that we would’ve had to repay, that we can now use for other needed projects and improvements in Manasquan. There is no lack of projects we need funding."
Last week, President Joe Biden signed into law legislation forgiving what's known as Community Disaster Loans, or CDLs, after Sandy towns received the loans to remain able to do business and maintain a functional government while dealing with the unprecedented disaster the storm left behind.
The legislation received bipartisan support from New Jersey Reps. Andy Kim, Chris Smith and Frank Pallone. Currently, 18 New Jersey towns owe $25 million in CDLs.
“This allows us to recover,” says Toms River Mayor Mo Hill. “We don't have to pay it first of all, and it's not going to be the burden on the taxpayer. We will be able to use this on the municipal budget for other things that we have coming down the pike."
Smith says the legislation signed into law was part of a stopgap measure to prevent a government shutdown.