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Council Approves Reducing Sandy Borrowing, Sees $53 Million Pricetag

Ocean County is picking up much of the township's debris removal expenses, but officials still see $53 million in estimated Hurricane Sandy costs.

Township Council approved on Tuesday, Dec. 4, a reduction in its authorized emergency spending for Hurricane Sandy since Ocean County is assuming most of the costs associated with debris removal.

The Township Council voted 7-0 to reduce its emergency authorization to $7.5 million from $18 million, a cut of $10.5 million, in what Brick's municipal government could borrow to cover costs associated with Hurricane Sandy.  Township officials said the overall costs for Sandy, which devastated much of the Jersey Shore in late October, could reach $53 million for Brick's municipal government alone.

Ocean County retained Ashbritt Inc. to handle post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts and the Township Council voted 7-0 to enter a shared services agreement with the county for debris removal.  Township Administrator Scott Pezarres said prior to Tuesday night’s meeting that the agreement will have the county shouldering 75 percent of the cost for debris removal.

Pezarras said the Federal Emergency Management Administration will reimburse local governments for emergency costs, but Brick Township will need to borrow money short-term.  FEMA typically reimburses local governments within a year after the emergency, he said.

Approval of the township's bills became a flashpoint between Republican Mayor Steve Acropolis and Council President John Ducey, a Democrat.

Ducey asked some pointed questions about some of the expenses that were associated with the clean-up after the storm, particularly those from Vecharello Contracting, which didn't have the sign-off from Department of Public Works officials.

Acropolis accused Ducey of turning the storm's aftermath into a  "campaign for next year's mayorship."  Acropolis said that Ducey had eight days to review the bills before the council meeting.

Ducey, who said he met with the township's finance officials on Monday, saw that the other bills had approvals from public works, that listed the equipment used, the hours of labor and a total.

Vecharello Contracting's bills were set aside until they could be verified by the department. Some Township Council members said they had seen the company's trucks assisting with work near Drum Point Road.

Nancy Williams December 05, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Also at the meeting last night information was given about using the 732-262-1234 telephone number regarding any questions residents might have related to "Sandy". The Municipal staff for that number is ready to answer your questions and to give you a path to further recover. If they dont have the answer they assured me today that they will do everything legally possible to give you directions for the answers. Please pass this number forward.
WMS826 December 05, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Free stuff to anyone who was in America when the storm hit for r life. Just keep it coming, it's not like any of this is a homeowners problem. You bought homes in a flood zone, you bet nothing would happen like this and lost. These homes should not be sold for anything such as n the past knowing they are uninsurable.
Chief Wahoo December 05, 2012 at 09:47 PM
try telling that to the tax assessor......overpriced is the way they like/want/need it !
Nancy Williams December 06, 2012 at 12:18 AM
There is no mention of FREE in my comment. You assume free in your ignorant statement. Our Mayor said something similar last night (something about plugging in a crock pot). But then I think he got it and the 732-262-1234 number was explained. WMS826, How dare you judge what the needs of these people are. Unless you have gone through the loss the frustration the hopelessness the overwhelmness of the process. Do not judge. The never ending circle of their WELL PAID insurance policies is enough to give up on their home.!! That number 732-262-1234 is available for information for residents to explain the paths to take in every aspect of recovery as we all move forward including you. Information could include closer to home rentals so their children can continue the normalcy to a school day, licensed contractors who will not gouge our residents, grief support for the loss of items from a lifetime of living, maybe they will need help legally. And the list goes on...all of which ARE NOT FREE. I am someone that feels blessed from this storm and FYI so do those that you so uncouthly included. This storm has changed Brick forever and if those people cant rebuild than guess what? WE ALL PAY! So why not show some support for your neighbors who need "support" not "freebies" then everyone wins. That number is 732-262-1234 pass it on.
nan December 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Nancy Williams hit the nail on the head. First, a number of the less than wealthy inherited the small home or bought before anyone imagined a storm of a millennium. Second what do you know about the enormous property tax paid on their homes. Another attendee whose home is "around the corner" from the Mayor told how she moved to W VA because she couldn't afford to live in her house in Cherry Quay. She and her fiance are trying to do the work by themselves without electricity which means without heat. The Mayor was unaware of this woman's struggle. Telling people over and over call 732-262-1234 doesn't do it. Why has the Mayor not held Town Hall style meetings on nights other than the night's Council Meetings are held? He threatened to do this when he didn't like what the Council was doing. Individual advice is not the answer. He needs to listen to what the people are really saying. Town Hall meetings where they speak and he listens and follows up with appropriate action is the answer. It provides more than just getting advice he it a form of grief counseling. He should be holding meetings frequently instead of taking up so much grandstanding at Council meetings. Before the storm I heard the story from a Normandy Beach owner who inherited her home of how she has to rent it out to pay the new taxes.

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