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Hempstead gets surplus equipment from government for storm repairs

Congressman Peter King, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray

Congressman Peter King, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby at a press conference to mark the two year anniversary of a governmental partnership that provided Hempstead Town with a fleet of equipment worth $1.3 million at no cost to local taxpayers. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Hempstead Town officials and Rep. Peter King met Tuesday in Lido Beach to acknowledge $1.3 million in federal surplus equipment the town has received for coastal defense and storm repairs in the two years since superstorm Sandy struck.

The town applied for the equipment, which was donated by various federal government agencies and the governor's office in the wake of the October 2012 storm.

In August the town acquired a 24-foot patrol boat for its constable fleet to perform rescues, drunken-boating enforcement and coastal damage assessments. The boat was acquired through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's surplus equipment program and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"In the wake of Sandy, our town needed a host of equipment to move sand, remove debris, lift boats out of the water and restore our coastline," Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said. "Thanks to Congressman King for facilitating the transfer of more than $1 million of federal equipment to our town at no direct cost to Hempstead taxpayers."

The equipment comes from federal departments that no longer use machinery such as trucks and forklifts. Since Sandy, the town has received a military crane, two dump trucks, a forklift that can lift boats, two tractors and a Boston Whaler patrol boat.

King (R-Seaford) said the equipment will save the town money and also save federal aid once the town is able to react quickly to storm relief. He said the town is more ready than in the past.

"It's obviously a win for the taxpayers of Hempstead, and a great assistance, God forbid, [when] they're fighting future storms," King said. "When and if that next terrible storm comes, the town can prevent damage while waiting for federal assistance."

The town has used the military crane to remove a 30-foot boat and other debris from channels and roads. Town workers are also using the equipment to repair coastal bulkheads.

Dump trucks and tractors have been used to deliver sand to restore dunes on the barrier island in Point Lookout and Lido Beach, in additional to other work materials, Murray said.

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