Long Beach hails state for paying for utility line moves

Cars and homes on the west end of Cars and homes on the west end of Long Beach was buried under sand after superstorm Sandy. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Alejandra Villa

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Long Beach officials held a news conference in the city's battered West End Wednesday morning to celebrate a state ruling that superstorm Sandy victims will not have to pay to move utility lines and poles that are interfering with attempts to rebuild and elevate their homes to meet new federal standards.

Residents in the city, and around Long Island, had been informed by the Long Island Power Authority that they would have to pay $20,000 to $80,000 each to move utility poles during the course of rebuilding their homes, city officials said.

But Richard Kauffman, chairman of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's energy finance sub-cabinet, announced last week that the state will dedicate federal Sandy aid to cover the work "so that homeowners and ratepayers are isolated from such costs."

Long Beach City Council president Scott Mandel said Wednesday morning that the charge would have been "unacceptable" for homeowners who are already burdened with the cost of rebuilding.

"Talk about being kicked when you are down," he said.

Long Beach officials held the news conference outside the Pennsylvania Avenue home of Sam Kinsley, who is attempting to rebuild from Sandy. Her home was destroyed by Sandy, and currently only a construction trailer sits at the site.

Kinsley said she is hoping to build an elevated home on the lot so it will stand up to future storms.

"Now the people that have to raise homes will see some light at the end of the tunnel," she said.

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