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FEMA Aid Money Slow To Get To Sandy-Affected Towns, Officials Say

Congress approved a $51 billion aid package in January but Shore Area towns have seen only a fraction of their costs covered in nine months since Superstorm Sandy.

Damage at the boardwalk in Belmar following Superstorm Sandy.
Damage at the boardwalk in Belmar following Superstorm Sandy.

In the first nine months since Superstorm Sandy hit Shore Area towns, about $7.1 million in federal emergency money has been doled out to offset costs of cleanup and removal in some of the hardest hit areas of Monmouth County, state figures show.

The state Office of Emergency Management, which has been distributing the federal money to municipalities throughout the state, reports that municipalities from Asbury Park to Brielle -- including the non-coastal towns of Wall Township and Spring Lake Heights – received a total of $7,185,545.01 from the federal government, mainly going toward reimbursement for debris removal and safety measures, according to an OEM accounting of public assistance payments.

The OEM figures cover payments to municipalities, other public entities and some eligible private companies statewide through July 30. The figures are actual dollars received by municipalities to cover emergency costs, not requests made or applications still in the pipeline, OEM officials said Tuesday.

But while the aid money is welcome, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what towns have spent cleaning up from the October storm, officials said.

“It’s certainly frustrating,’’ said Colleen Connelly, Belmar’s borough administrator. “But we understand that with a disaster of this magnitude comes a lot of bureaucracy.’’

Of the 12 towns in the southern Monmouth Shore Area, Belmar has received the largest portion of federal aid money, collecting just more than $2.2 million. Neptune Township, which includes hard hit areas of Ocean Grove and Shark River Hills, received the next largest sum at just more than $1.9 million, according to the figures.

Lynn Servon, secretary of the Neptune Township Economic Development Corporation, said FEMA estimated the township’s damages at around $7.2 million.

The process to get reimbursed for its outlay has been slow until just the past few weeks when the OEM set up an electronic submission system that tracks where in the pipeline requests for reimbursement fall.

“Before that, you sort of didn’t know where you were at,’’ Servon said.

Connelly also said the electronic system has sped up a process that had been stuck in neutral.

“We’ve been able to push through some things in the past weeks,’’ Connelly said. “They seems to be ironing out the kinks in the system.’’

The bulk of Belmar’s aid disbursement – $2,031,234.36 -- went to offset costs of debris removal. The remainder went for emergency procedures and to cover the extra costs incurred by the borough’s first aid squad. A small portion, $1,875, went to replace equipment at the borough’s elementary school, according to the figures.

Belmar’s cost for debris removal alone tops $6 million, Connelly said.

“So what we’ve received so far has been a partial payment,’’ she said. 

Connelly said the borough has spent an estimated $25 million on Sandy recovery and expects to get 90 percent of that money back, or about $23 million, from the $51 billion federal aid package approved by Congress earlier this year.

The borough also has been approved for $9.6 million to offset the cost of rebuilding its 1.3-mile boardwalk, Connelly said.

In Wall Township, which disposed of 14,000 tons of felled trees and brush following the October storm, it was not immediately clear how much of the $324,589.90 in FEMA aid went to cover its expenses. A call requesting comment was not returned Tuesday.

But while cash-strapped municipalities have had to deal with the emergency and its cleanup immediately, the reimbursement process has been less quick, officials said.

“We couldn’t wait to have debris removed,’’ Connelly said. “We couldn’t wait to put extra protections in place, we’ve had to deal with the situation in real time.’’


The state Office of Emergency Management has disbursed the following money to each of the 12 Shore Area towns in southern Monmouth County. Line items represent payment for specific requests for itemized claims listed in the full report, which can be found by clicking here.

Asbury Park

Asbury Park -- $699,506.25

Asbury Park -- $3,750.00

Asbury Park -- $3,750.00

Asbury Park -- $750.00

Total: $707,756.25

Neptune Township:
Neptune Township Board Of Education -- $60,315.05

Neptune Township Board Of Education -- $3,267.45

Neptune Township Board Of Education -- $25,703.69

Neptune (Township Of) -- $30,052.50

Neptune Township Housing Authority -- $25,143.23

Neptune Township Fire District #1 -- $34,744.20

Neptune Township Board Of Education -- $151.77

Neptune Township Housing Authority -- $7,575.00

Neptune Township Board Of Education -- $916.95

Neptune Township Fire District #1 -- $836.16

Neptune (Township Of) -- $1,800,004.13

Neptune Township Housing Authority -- $1,869.76

Total: $1,990,579.89

Bradley Beach:

Bradley Beach -- $43,910.05

Bradley Beach Elementary School -- $3,750.00

Bradley Beach -- $237,164.81

Total: $284,824.86

Avon:
Avon -- $150,002.67

Avon -- $27,242.72

Avon -- $2,445.00

Avon -- $23,360.96

Avon -- $13,777.43

Avon -- $2,370.06

Avon -- $7,486.50

Avon -- $4,055.48

Total: $230,740.82

Belmar:

Belmar -- $2,031,234.36

Belmar -- $146,346.36

Belmar First Aid -- $26,781.62

Belmar Board Of Education -- $1,875.00

Total: $2,206,237.34

Wall Township:
Wall Township Fire District No 3 Monmouth -- $1,923.68

Wall Township Fire District No 3 -- $22,708.52

Wall Fire District No 2 -- $32,661.60

Wall Fire District #1 -- $9,738.83

Wall Township Monmouth -- $3,451.17

Wall Township Monmouth -- $6,209.99

Wall Township Monmouth -- $180,752.36

Wall Township Monmouth -- $67,143.75

Total: $324,589.90

Lake Como:

Lake Como -- $65,985.32

Lake Como -- $1,351.26

Lake Como -- $82,391.97

Lake Como -- $468.00

Lake Como -- $93.60

Lake Como -- $33,113.87

Total: 183,404.02

Spring Lake:

Spring Lake -- $265,664.41

Spring Lake -- $82,500.00

Total: 348,164.41

Spring Lake Heights:
Spring Lake Hights Board Of Ed -- $750.00

Spring Lake Heights -- $88,522.84

Total: $89,272.84

Sea Girt:
Sea Girt Borough School Dist -- $886.15

Sea Girt Monmouth -- $52,680.87

Sea Girt Monmouth -- $40,567.60

Sea Girt Monmouth -- $2,797.50

Total: $96,932.12

Manasquan:
Manasquan -- $63,115.56

Manasquan Board Of Education -- $1,133.72

Manasquan Board Of Education -- $1,875.00

Manasquan Board Of Education -- $8,989.49

Manasquan -- $12,339.51

Manasquan -- $38,928.35

Manasquan -- $400,593.75

Manasquan -- $50,524.50

Total: 577,499.88

Brielle:
Brielle Monmouth -- $49,143.75

Brielle Monmouth -- $45,683.18

Brielle Board Of Education -- $3,750.00

Brielle Monmouth -- $2,701.43

Brielle Monmouth -- $37,027.23

Brielle Fire Company No 1 -- $6,580.84

Brielle Fire Company No 1 -- $656.25

Total: $145,542.68

Grand total: $7,185,545.01

Sean Conneamhe August 28, 2013 at 06:01 AM
"Always remember the 5th of November."
paulie August 28, 2013 at 08:14 AM
So Belmar has received over 2 million to date and Manasquan under 600K. How is this figured out? How is the decision made?

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