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Should Sandy relief money go to West Michigan?

9:18 PM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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Hurricane Sandy - AP

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - WZZM 13 has learned that communities in West Michigan are getting money that is supposed to help victim's of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.

The Army Corps of Engineers Lake Michigan office wanted the money for dredging.

"When the hurricane hit the east coast, we ended up getting some back winds from that," says Tom O'Bryan with the Army Corps of Engineers. "The wave energy picks up a lot of sand from the shoreline."

WZZM 13 has learned that Holland and Muskegon are each receiving $200,000 and Saugatuck's getting $350,000. When asked if the money would be better served for on the east coast, O'Bryan said," I believe the majority of the package for Sandy went to the east cost."

The local relief money is part of a larger $40 billion package. Congressman Bill Huizenga supports the idea, but voted down the bill.

"I wanted to prioritize our debt, and granted Sandy relief is important, but not at the expense of incurring billions of dollars of new debt, I wanted to find other areas to cut to help pay for this," says Congressman Huizenga.

The Holland Board of Public Works relies on clear passage for cargo shipments, and more sand means less can be carried.

"If we schedule five boats, we want them to be fully loaded, if we lighten the load, that's less they're going to bring in," says Judy Visscher with the Holland Board of Public Works.

Holland already gets annual funding for dredging, but the Army Corps says without the hurricane relief dollars, the job wouldn't be completed.

In West Michigan, Saint Joseph is receiving the most hurricane relief at $550,000.

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