New Jersey counties could get millions for disaster prep under bill

New Jersey's 21 counties could get millions of dollars in state disaster assistance under a new measure announced Monday in the Legislature.

Senate President Steve Sweeney unveiled a proposal that would establish a program to dole out funds to emergency management offices.

Sweeney and other stakeholders, including Atlantic County Emergency Management Director Vince Jones, say the program would help local governments create two-year plans and increase community outreach.

"Growing up in New Jersey I don't remember...tornadoes, really hurricanes, earthquakes, but the world's changing," says Sweeney. "As you see what happened in Louisiana with the flooding, every dollar we put in to being prepared for storms is going to be well rewarded. We learned from Sandy."

The money would allow counties to maintain their rescue equipment, shelter people during future storms and also reach out to residents in advance of extreme weather. The legislation doesn't specify how much money each county would get. Those decisions would be determined during the annual budget process.

The bill for hurricane aid would be funded through the budget and there's no dollar amount attached to it right now.

The announcement comes five years since Hurricane Irene and nearly four years after Superstorm Sandy hit the region.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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