Storm Package Bills Lauded By Jackson Council

Jackson Council Vice President Andrew Kern, left, joins former Councilman, now 12th District Assemblyman Alex Sauickie, Jackson Council President Martin Flemming and Councilman Nino Borrelli. The Jackson Council recently voted to support a storm related bill package introduced by Assemblyman Sauickie. (Photo courtesy 12th District Legislative Office)

  JACKSON – Township officials supported a storm related bill package by former Councilman Alex Sauickie, now a 12th District Assemblyman, that would help victims of devasting storms.

  Councilman Nino Borrelli spoke about the bill package early during a recent Township Council meeting, highlighting the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and the current devastation witnessed in Florida by Hurricane Ian. “I am introducing resolution 400-R-22 with the Township Council supporting three storm related bills introduced by our former council colleague, Assemblyman Alex Sauickie that will benefit our fellow residents.

  “Having grown up and lived in Brick, I know family and friends who lost their homes in SuperStorm Sandy who had to rebuild or never did rebuild. From what I read bill A-333 would require electric companies to reimburse residential and commercial customers who experience power outages lasting more than 48 hours for the cost of replacing prescription medicine or perishable goods,” Borrelli said.

  He noted the second bill A-4731 would authorize public utilities and cable, internet and cell phone companies to operate more efficiently during emergencies by using drones to assess and maintain critical infrastructure.

  Through this bill, the state would be required to adopt rules, in accordance with federal laws and regulations, permitting the use of unmanned aircraft in this manner “and thus maintain critical infrastructure” Borrelli added.

  He noted the third bill, A-4732, “would provide an income tax deduction to residents who put in backup generators at their primary residence.” Borrelli urged support by the public for these bills and to contact the State House Senate and Assembly leaders to post these three bills for a vote.

  Sauickie compared Hurricane Ian’s recent path of destruction in Florida to Superstorm Sandy’s devastating impact on New Jersey 10 years ago. He noted it was the state’s worst natural disaster and said his three bills would help Garden State residents and businesses prepare for and recover from weather events.

  “Seeing the images of boats washed ashore, homes ripped from their foundations, and recovery efforts in Florida brings back memories of Superstorm Sandy,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “I have so much empathy for the people of Florida, because we understand what they are going through. It’s why I believe this package of bills is so important right now.”

  Approximately 30,000 residents were displaced from their homes in Ocean County, more than any other county in New Jersey. After Superstorm Sandy hit the state’s coast on Oct. 29, 2012, 38 people in New Jersey died and as many as 82,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

  The Assemblyman added, during Sandy, 2.6 million New Jersey residents lost power. A third of them went without electricity for at least a week. “That kind of outage is devastating to everyone, but even losing power for a day can have major consequences for those who rely on medical devices.”

  Sauickie said A-4732, “can literally save lives by providing power and preserving emergency services during a storm.”

  He said he sponsored A-333 to address the associated costs following the loss of power. That bill is currently awaiting a hearing in an Assembly committee. Residents could receive up to $540 and businesses could recoup as much as $10,700.

  “With sky-high food prices, a family cannot easily replace a week’s worth of groceries. New Jersey businesses, especially small businesses, cannot take another financial hit. Being forced to throw away products because of power restoration delays isn’t within most businesses’ budgets. Public utilities providing unreliable service have to be held accountable,” Sauickie added.

  Assemblyman Sauickie said, “getting this bill package passed ahead of the next Sandy, Ian or Ida is crucial to our security, safety and resilience.”

  The Jackson Council unanimously approved the resolution of support that Borrelli put forward during its October 25 meeting.