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In Bergen County, Problems Stemming From Sandy Surface During Panel

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Many of the problems encountered in the aftermath of Sandy in the badly hit areas of Bergen County were explored Monday by the New Jersey Senate  Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Mauro Raguseo, mayor of Little Falls, N.J., told the panel that the 8.5 feet of water that inundated his town could have been prevented if the state had invested in a flood barrier at Newark Bay. It  was never built because it was deemed too costly.

"Now, nearly 20 years later,  I ask you, how many municipalities have suffered flood damage, costly repairs and untold sorrow and misery for our residents and businesses by this not being built?” Reguseo asked. “Would it have been more prudent to invest in flood mitigation that works, rather than the billions that will be given out in FEMA payments to homeowners, businesses and communities now?”

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan asked the Senate panel to write a law that would require nursing homes and hospitals to have back up power generation and heat available during and after severe storms. Patients from nursing homes and hospitals ended up in county shelters, Donovan said, and would have been much better off staying in place.

“So we, as a county, had to open up special care facilities for them,” Donovan said. “It stressed not only the emergency responses but it stresses the patients as well.”