The New Jersey League of Municipalities sent a letter to Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker calling for federal emergency aid quickly when it came to the subject of dealing with this winter. League Executive Director Bill Dressel told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that all 565 municipalities are impacted by the unprecedented five state wide emergencies declared by Governor Chris Christie since Jan. 2.
Dressel said that when the state of emergencies were declared, the basic road system of the state was shut down, which is over 38,000 mile sod roadway, 28,000 miles of which is the municipal government’s job to keep clean. He said the municipalities are spending a considerable dollars in overtime and product like salt to keep the roads open and what the league is saying is that this is a state wide emergency that needs some federal funds.
“We looked at the definition of a declared federal emergency and individually any one of these storms would not have qualified but cumulatively we believe deserve consideration for federal dollars,” Dressel said.
The letter went out on Friday, Feb. 14 and Dressel said the league has not heard back yet.
“I believe that the State Department of Transportation is doing a great job in keeping their roads open and they have been as cooperative as they could be in trying to help the local governments but as you know there is a state wide shortage of salt and that has created another problem, that the state and the county and municipal governments get their fair share of salt to keep the roads clear,” Dressel said.
Dressel said that never in his 40 years in the league has he ever seen anything like this. He said he is looking to the federal government for funding and they are looking to the state for assistance as well because there were state wide emergencies called.
“We are saying since this was a state wide impact that the costs should be paid either by the federal government or by state government to help because all of us pay federal taxes, we pay state taxes, we should be getting back dividend to help when we have this type of extraordinary climate situations,” said Dressel.