TRENTON – A bill to provide $1 million for flood remediation in Sayreville was removed from the agenda in the Senate Budget Committee after two Democrats announced last-minute concerns.
The bill, S2445, is sponsored in the Assembly by state Democratic Party Chairman John Wisniewski, (D-17), of Sayreville, who was summoned to the committee room by a staff member to address the vote shortfall.
The bill re-appropriates unused flood remediation money for the local project, the sponsor said; it passed the Assembly, 43-30-3, in June.
After two officials testified about the need for project funding, state Sens. James Beach (D-6), of Voorhees, and Brian Stack (D-33), of Union City, announced to the committee that they would be abstaining.
Five Republican senators then cast their votes against the bill, at which time Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-36), of Wood-Ridge, stopped the vote and pulled the bill from the agenda. One GOP senator, Kevin O’Toole (R-40), of Cedar Grove, wasn’t pleased with the tactic. “You were kind enough to take our naked votes,” he shot at Sarlo.
In the room within minutes was Wisniewski, who approached both of the Democratic senators who abstained individually. Afterward, he told State Street Wire that the measure would appear on the agenda at the next meeting.
Beach told State Street that he abstained because he works for a flood remediation company, and that he didn’t want to cast a vote for a project that his company could potentially bid for.
Stack told State Street, “I think it’s fair that we fund all the flood projects, not just one town.”