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Huntington getting $6.8M in Sandy recovery aid

This tree came down on a house and

This tree came down on a house and car on Conklin Lane in Huntington during Superstorm Sandy. (Oct. 30, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

Huntington will receive $6.8 million in federal money to help clean up debris in its recovery from superstorm Sandy, officials announced Wednesday.

The money, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, is expected to be disbursed to the town over the next few weeks, said a spokesman for Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). He disclosed the amount of the town's share of FEMA aid with Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills).

In January a $50 billion Sandy aid package was signed into law, and money from that package went into the already established relief fund.

"Cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy greatly strained municipal budgets on Long Island, and this funding will help ease the financial burden on the tax base," Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said in a news release.

The money will go toward overtime and costs of operating equipment to remove debris. It will also be used to cover costs of the private contractor who hauled away tree debris, which the town had reduced to wood chips, town officials said. The town could not provide an estimate of total cleanup costs.

In Huntington more than 750 streets were blocked by downed trees and wires after the storm blew through. Some of the hardest-hit areas include Commack, East Northport, Harbor Heights, Salem Ridge and Makamah Beach.

"Superstorm Sandy ravaged communities in the Town of Huntington, creating a massive cleanup effort by the local government and a burden for local taxpayers," Schumer said in a news release.

Huntington Highway Superintendent William Naughton said he was relieved to hear the money was on its way.

"For them to even consider your application you have to have a good package with placards, pictures and have everything documented," Naughton said. "I thought we did a good job with that."

Israel said he was pleased FEMA expedited Huntington's reimbursement.

"It's bad enough to be affected by uncontrollable weather and downed trees, but local governments shouldn't have to bear the burden alone."

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