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Large Crowd, No Questions at South Amboy Council Meeting

By Joseph L. Kuchie —

SOUTH AMBOY – Not many residents spoke out about Hurricane Sandy despite a large crowd during last Tuesday’s South Amboy council meeting.

The council prepared for the meeting by inviting the city’s department heads to respond to any questions residents may have brought forward. Residents came out in numbers two weeks ago to complain about the lack of effort from the city government following the storm, but not many stepped forward on Tuesday

In fact, Mark Grossman of David Street was the only resident to speak about the city’s effort after Sandy. He criticized the city’s response as a whole and believed more could have been done, especially with power outages.

“I’ve had communications with Jersey Central and they are taking my actions seriously. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to do this,” Grossman said. “I am not an elected person but I could easily reach out to the state and county. It appears that none of these assets were reached out to or used.”

Grossman also added that the residents of South Amboy were doing all they could to help their neighbors while the city’s leaders were nowhere to be found. He explained that some residents created a soup kitchen with leftover food and were working as a unit.

“Every claim I’ve heard was people like Councilwoman Noble doing it on their own. It’s not just what you can do with one set of hands, you are all representatives of the entire town,” Grossman said. “We had people with dying freezers and electric cooking, so we all brought meat together and made a soup kitchen to help our neighbors. It wasn’t what I could do, it was what we could do, and we tried to reach out.”

Councilwoman Noble was not in attendance for the meeting, but Mayor Henry addressed the ongoing situation during his opening comments. He informed the residents in attendance that the city would be meeting with FEMA to assess the damage and will work to fix the communication problem in South Amboy.

“Next week we will be meeting with FEMA with our professionals to assess the damage in the city and see what we can get in return,” Henry said. “Last meeting we had a lot of residents with concerns about communication during emergencies and we know of the problems that arose because of that. I want to sit down and get in touch with those people to figure out how we can better the situation. We need to do better then we did.”

After the meeting concluded, President Joseph Connors thanked the department heads for attending the meeting and for all their hard work during the aftermath of the storm. The city council also wished everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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