Toms River Township Council approved spending up to $35 million to cover emergency costs associated with Hurricane Sandy, including debris removal and overtime for police and public works employees.
The township can repay the costs – many of which can be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- over a five-year period, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said at a press conference earlier Friday, Nov. 16.
Township Administrator Paul Shives said before the Township Council emergency meeting on Friday that any borrowing to cover the costs would be conducted as the township needed it. FEMA normally reimburses municipalities between nine months and a year after emergency costs are incurred, Shives said.
Shives noted that the landfill bill from Sandy’s aftermath so far was $1 million. In the two weeks since the storm, overtime from the police department totaled about $250,000 and $175,000 for public works employees. Some of these costs may be ongoing, particularly police coverage for Ortley Beach in the coming months.
The resolutions associated with the costs were approved 6-0. Councilman Alfonso Manforti had an excused absence, as the meeting took place at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
These costs come as the township lost an estimated 20 percent of its tax base from the devastation after Hurricane Sandy late October, Kelleher said. Shives later said 30 percent of the residential tax base suffered damage, but that does not mean that it is lost.
Township Engineer Robert J. Chankalian estimated earlier Friday, Nov. 16, that the township’s infrastructure, such as roads, parks, sewers and beaches, suffered $25 million to $30 million in damage.