Hurricane Sandy – a Few ”Did You Know?” Observations

As we all try to put Hurricane Sandy in our rearview mirror, the town of Long Beach has taken a big step in that direction: This summer a large section of the Long Beach boardwalk reopened!  The biggest difference between the new boardwalk and the old boardwalk is: This one is expected to last 30-40 years, regardless of future storms like Sandy.  That may be wishful thinking and the truth is we’ll never know until the next storm hits; however, our money (as taxpayers) is on the LI engineers and construction teams who will be doing all the heavy lifting. The rebuilding of the entire boardwalk is expected to be completed in November. We are wishing everyone the best.

A popular urban legend is that the infamous blackout of 1965 resulted in an increase in births in the affected areas nine months later.  This year, the ‘blackout baby boom’ has been replaced with the ‘Hurricane Sandy Baby Bump’ in which some local OB/GYN offices have noticed a 30% spike in the number of births.
According to the NYS Attorney General’s offices, more than 40 gas stations have been fined for price gouging during the gas shortages sparked by Hurricane Sandy.  New York price gouging law does not allow merchants to take unfair advantages of customers during natural disasters.
Finally, LIA CEO Kevin Law told us recently that budgeted federal aid to New York, post-Sandy, will be in the multi-billions of dollars. Importantly though, he also said that the money will be spent over many years. According to Kevin, likely targets for this spending on LI, in addition to infrastructure, will be on sewage treatment plants (which were hard hit on LI) and rental property construction (of which there was not enough after the storm). It’s up to all of us to be aware of where and how well our tax dollars are being spent as our region re-builds.

Eric Altstadter CPA is an Audit Partner with over 30 years of experience working with public companies and privately held businesses. He is the Editor-in-Charge of the firm's SEC Trends & Developments newsletter and a member of NY State Society of CPAs.

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