Simmons says federal coastal planning grant not in jeopardy

Stonington -- The state Department of Housing is cautioning the town that a two-year federal deadline to spend $150,000 in Superstorm Sandy funding to develop a coastal resiliency plan is nearing.

“Our team works closely with award recipients all across Connecticut’s shoreline and, based on reports submitted by the town, we know that Stonington is behind schedule on their award,” stated the housing department in a press release.

It added municipalities knew about the deadline when they accepted their awards.

But First Selectman Rob Simmons said there is no need for alarm as the firm that the town hired to develop the plan has been working on it since last fall but has yet to submit a bill to the town.

While the firm may be waiting to bill the town until the report is completed, Simmons said town officials will now contact the firm and ask it to begin billing so the money can be spent. In addition, he said the town will also inform the state of the progress. The town’s deadline for spending the money is March 1, 2018.

Simmons said the state informed him of its concern in a letter he received on Monday, four days after the housing department announced its concern in a press release.

Daniel A. Arsenault, the housing department’s’ legislative program manager and public information officer, stated in the release that the department had “informed Mayors and First Selectmen along shoreline communities that they are in danger of losing several millions of dollars in Superstorm Sandy recovery funding. We also informed each municipality’s legislative delegation. A few communities in New London county are in danger of losing federal grants worth several million dollars. Each community on this list is considered to be 'behind schedule' in their original time lines for these projects."

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