The township-led program that will include the demolition of potentially hundreds of homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy has hit a snag.
The $8.2 million program, which will also include the carting away of debris from destroyed neighborhoods, will have to be rebid after it was determined that one of the winning bidders does not hold the proper licensing for a portion of the project.
The Private Property Debris Removal, or PPDR, program is run by FEMA and allows the township to take on the task of demolishing destroyed homes or entire neighborhoods. FEMA then reimburses the township 75 percent of the cost, with the remainder coming from homeowners' insurance policies, disaster grants or other funding mechanisms. The township would pay whatever remains.
In Brick's case, the township council awarded contracts to four companies who were the low bidders in about 20 categories of work. But one of the contractors, T. Fiore Demolition of Newark, was found by the state not to be a prequalified environmental professional under the unregulated heating oil tank program, said a resolution passed unanimously by the township council on Tuesday.
That resolution rescinded the contract awards from May 7 and put the entire project out to bid once again.
Since T. Fiore was the low bidder in several categories of work, not using them would have made the project's cost jump by $3.1 million, Councilman John Ducey said, which was above the township engineer's estimate. If the project was not broken up into varying categories, the lowest bid by a single company to perform all the work was about $1 million more, officials said.
"Anything that is over the engineer's estimate, the township always has the opportunity to rebid," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.
Bids will be accepted for 10 days, Acropolis said, then the township council will have to re-award a contract. Acropolis said he will suggest the council hold a special meeting to do so, since the next scheduled meeting of the governing body is not until June 11.
"We hope to have some it done by the middle of June," he said, of the program.
The township council on Tuesday also unanimously passed a resolution calling on Congress to authorize 100 percent reimbursement of the PPDR program.
"This has been requested 150 times in the past, and 109 times it has been approved," said Business Administrator Scott Pezarras.
Officials estimate as many as 500 homes may need to be demolished township-wide.