November 18, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Councilmen Donovan Richards and Brad Lander held a rally before a hearing at City Hall to push for legislation that would track billions of federal dollars designated to rebuild communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Amid increasing reports of waste and fraud of money already spent, the Councilmen want the city to create an online database to track how and where the money is being spent. Watch Video
In an interview, Councilman Richards, the primary sponsor of the Int. 1040-A legislation, also known as the Sandy Tracker Bill, said there’s a pressing need to account for the monies.
“People want to know where is this money going because they’re still trying to get back into their homes, they’re still dealing with mold and still living in hotels. We want to make sure that taxpayer dollars are being maximized to the greatest benefit,” said Richards.
Congress authorized earlier this year a $60 billion aid package for the tri-state area. In October the city received another $1.3 billion on top of the $1.7 billion it has already received via Community Development Block Grants.
Standing with the councilmen were community activists and leaders with organizations such as the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, National Laborers Organizing Network and Make the Road New York.
Councilmen Lander explained that the online database where New Yorkers can go to see disbursement of funds could be modeled on the database the city created to show how funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were distributed.
“The stimulus tracker that the Bloomberg administration set up gave people a very good ability to see where the money was and we just wanted to make sure that this money was seen in a transparent way,” said Lander.
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