An aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) revealed in a conference call with reporters on Monday that the vast majority of relief money sent to Hoboken, N.J. in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was given to residents, not the city.
Marc Ferzan, the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding gave the details in an effort to refute claims made my Hoboken’s mayor over the weekend. Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat, alleged that Christie aides had threatened to withhold relief money unless she approved a development project favored by the governor.
Ferzan said Hoboken requested $100 million in storm aid and outlined approximately $70 million he said was given to the city. Most of the money Ferzan identified went to individual residents and businesses rather than the city government.
“There were reports in the media … that there was very limited disaster recovery funding that made it was way to Hoboken and I was really, folks, scratching my head,” said Ferzan.
The “roughly $70 million” in aid to Hoboken came largely from federal agencies including: $43 million from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program to homeowners and businesses in the city, $8.5 million in Small Business Administration loans, and nearly $6.3 million given to city residents through FEMA’s individual assistance program. The federal money largely went to individual residents and businesses apart from approximately $2.14 million that the Federal Transit Administration provided for projects in the city.
Ferzan identified $388,000 that came state programs and of that, he said, $342,000 went to the Hoboken city government.
On the call, Ferzan was asked about the fact the vast majority of the aid money was directed towards individuals and businesses.
“Most of the programs are targeted to the individual,” said Ferzan. “Very few programs beyond the FEMA public assistance grant process we’ve been able to allocate to communities on a large scale.”