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Typical Sandy-hit business on LI has $67,500 in uncovered costs

The state is seeking federal grants to help

The state is seeking federal grants to help Long Island businesses ravaged by superstorm Sandy meet costs that have not been covered by other sources. These businesses are in Long Beach. (Feb. 6, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

The typical business damaged by superstorm Sandy on Long Island has $67,500 in recovery expenses that aren't covered by insurance payments and government loans, according to a state report.

Nearly six months after the Oct. 29 storm, Empire State Development Corp., New York's primary business aid agency, estimates 13,888 companies in Nassau and Suffolk counties were in the surge area. Together they have 68,069 workers.

Only 196 businesses have been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration for disaster loans, which totaled $19.7 million.

To determine the unmet need for recovery help, the development corporation looked at a sample of 29 companies in Nassau and six in Suffolk that had sought state assistance.

Insurance payments covered 24 percent of the businesses' rebuilding costs, with some saying they had to pay from $100,001 to more than $250,000 out of pocket. Only 12 companies reported receiving an insurance payment, SBA loan or grant for rebuilding.

The $67,500 estimate of unmet recovery costs is 49 percent of the average damage estimate of $139,000.

The figures are in a 104-page "action plan" from Albany on how to use federal Community Development Block Grant money in Sandy-ravaged communities. The Cuomo administration has proposed grants of up to $50,000 to pay for equipment, construction or operating expenses to remain open. In some cases the awards could approach $100,000.

"We are now working closely with our federal partners and moving towards approval of a plan to cover remaining unmet needs -- and help make Long Island's small businesses whole again," said Kenneth Adams, chief executive of the state development corporation.

He also said a state loan program, established in Sandy's immediate aftermath, had provided "a quick cash infusion to businesses so they could keep their doors open and lights on while we waited for federal funding support to come through."

Those loans, valued at up to $25,000 each, have gone to 134 suburban businesses. They total more than $3.2 million.

Separately, the state Labor Department said Wednesday that 1,633 Long Islanders had received unemployment benefits after being thrown out of work by Sandy.

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program helps people who are employed or self-employed and were injured in the storm and unable to work, could not get to their job or their employer couldn't open.

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