Villages get federal help with Sandy costs

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The villages of Freeport, Mineola and Brightwaters have received thousands of dollars in federal reimbursement funds to help pay for the damage left by superstorm Sandy, state officials announced yesterday.

Sandy devastated homes and businesses in Freeport, with especially heavy flooding and wind damage in the southern section of the South Shore village. The village is relying on money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for cleanup and rebuilding, local officials have said.

The state is releasing $624,869 to the village on behalf of FEMA, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. The payments are "part of ongoing and anticipated future reimbursements the state will administer and pay to the affected municipalities," the statement said.

The Freeport money will help pay for "labor, equipment, material, rented equipment, and contract services," Cuomo's statement said.

State officials also said Mineola Village will receive $311,503 in reimbursements. The state said most of the costs involved cleaning up tree-littered village streets. The village removed, stored, or disposed of more than 6,000 cubic yards of woody debris, the state said.

Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) said: "The Village of Mineola responded quickly to remove unprecedented tree debris for their community and they utilized their village funds to achieve this important task . . . I am very pleased to be able to direct these funds back to the village and help them continue in their overall restoration effort."

Brightwaters also received $118,954, Cuomo's statement said.

Reached at his office yesterday afternoon, Brightwaters Mayor Joseph A. McNulty said he was unaware that the state funding had come through and reacted giddily.

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"Whoo-ee!" McNulty said. "This is great news. It makes life a little bit easy. We'll pay a few more bills."

Brightwaters used village personnel and some outside contractors to clear about 1,821 cubic yards of debris from village roads, according to the release.

With Scott Eidler and Nicole Fuller

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