To help New Jersey municipalities and counties recover costs from this week’s severe winter snowstorm, Governor Chris Christie today signed a letter to President Barack Obama seeking a major disaster declaration to secure federal funding and ensure New Jersey communities most affected by the storm receive all possible resources to address extraordinary and unforeseen costs from the snow emergency.
“My pledge is to do all we can to help our municipalities and counties in the aftermath of the blizzard, to clean up and to ease the storm’s financial impact,” Governor Christie said. “I want New Jersey to be in the best possible position to receive disaster aid through a prompt application to the federal government and FEMA.
”In the face of such a ferocious and unusual winter storm, our Department of Transportation, State Police and other agencies mounted an effective response, maximized resources and worked tirelessly for days. The eastern municipalities and counties most impacted also did the best they could under very difficult circumstances. There are always concerns about how things could have gone better, but the fact is this was a rare and unanticipated force of nature that hit our state, and we owe our thanks to all those who worked tirelessly to get us through it."
Also today, Governor Christie announced the distribution of more than $11.18 million in FEMA disaster aid from successful applications following major storms earlier this year. Distribution of payments to municipalities and counties began yesterday and will continue through Monday. Payment amounts to some of the hardest hit counties from those storms include, for example, $386,344 to Camden County, $308,936 to Burlington County, $291,612 to Gloucester County, $284,561 to Atlantic County, $278,638 to Cumberland County and $278,091 to Salem County. Payments for amounts ranging from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars will go to dozens of other municipalities and counties.
In his letter to President Obama, the Governor noted that storm conditions in 13 counties exceed the standards set to qualify for federal disaster assistance. The qualifying counties are Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union. New Jersey, through data being collected by the State Police Office of Emergency Management, will provide additional supporting information following the completion of a Preliminary Damage Assessment pursuant to FEMA’s Snow Assistance Policy.
The snowfall, which began the morning after Christmas, broke many of the historic records established and maintained by the National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, as described in an attachment to the Governor’s letter.
“In light of these severe conditions, federal assistance is critical to properly and fairly mitigate the financial impact of this major snowstorm on State and local budgets, which are both currently under tremendous pressure due to severe economic conditions,” Governor Christie wrote in his letter to the President.
Governor Christie urged counties and municipalities to prepare damage and cost assessments as quickly as possible to move the aid application process along as expeditiously as possible.