Official: Shoreline communities risk losing storm funds - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Official: Shoreline communities risk losing storm funds

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Eight coastal communities in Connecticut were urged to quickly complete work on Superstorm Sandy-related infrastructure upgrades. (WFSB) Eight coastal communities in Connecticut were urged to quickly complete work on Superstorm Sandy-related infrastructure upgrades. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Officials from eight coastal communities in Connecticut are being urged to quickly complete work on Superstorm Sandy-related infrastructure upgrades.

That's because further delay could result in a loss of federal funding for the projects.

In a letter sent Thursday, state Housing Commissioner Evonne M. Klein said 12 municipalities received money under the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program. Eight are considered "behind schedule," facing looming 2017 and 2018 deadlines.

Klein says six of those communities have not yet begun using some of their grants, which are supposed to pay for repairs to infrastructure damaged by the 2013 storm and planning for future storms. The list includes

  • Fairfield
  • Milford
  • New Haven
  • New London
  • Stonington
  • Waterford 
  • West Haven 
  • Westport 

Connecticut received $159 million to help homeowners and municipalities with repairs.

In New Haven, at the Brewery Square Seawall repair project, sea wall repairs were underway on Friday. City officials said they are acting as fast they can while trying to comply with all the state and federal rules and regulations.

"There is no question about the importance of these projects. It's a public safety issue,” Laurence Grotheer, New Haven Director of Communications said. “It is a matter of protecting vital infrastructure. It's just a question of crossing. The T's and dotting the I's along the way to get these projects completed."

On beach street in west haven where it is supposed to be raised up five feet, the emergency management director telling eyewitness news they have to get proper permits and make sure drainage doesn't affect wetlands and nearby properties and it just takes time. Something people who live in the area seem to be sympathetic about.

"After being in the military for 35 years, I understand the problems with the government and how slow things get, but it just takes time sometimes,” Bill Huntley, of West Haven, said.

Cities such as New Haven have to work on affected areas such as Long Wharf Drive. Some said the warning letter only refers to work done as of December and argue much has been completed since then. 

"New Haven feels the letter is unfair in its characterization of where the city is in the process,” Grotheer said. 

The towns do have until 2018 to complete the projects, so the money will not be cut off right away. The state government just hoping their warning now will get the cities to work on overcoming their hurdles faster.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.