Hurricane Sandy’s tab for Brick Township employee overtime has topped $2.166 million in the first three weeks after the late-October storm, while infrastructure damage costs are initially estimated between $15 million and $20 million, Township Business Administrator Scott M. Pezarras said.
Township officials said Tuesday night that its Hurricane Sandy costs are estimated at $53 million.
James F. Lacey, executive director of the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority, said Wednesday morning that repairs to the water and sewer system are initially estimated at an additional $3.5 million, most of which will be reimbursed by FEMA.
Police accounted for more than half of the overtime costs since they had to increase continuous patrols in the barrier island portion of the township, with 20 officers and 30 National Guardsman on patrol to ward off looters. They were supplemented with 12 to 16 public works employees handling debris cleanup, Pezarras told Patch.com on Tuesday.
Overtime had outpaced salaries for the first payroll in November, just after the storm hit, Pezarras said. Approximately $1.3 million in police overtime was accounted for, while another $479,000 was dedicated to the department of public works, he said.
Pezarras said the township has been tracking overtime associated with Hurricane Sandy in a separate account, since the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimburses local governments for their disaster-related costs.
“We expect the overtime for public works and parks to shrink in the future from the storm, but there will still be overtime for the police until the utilities are turned back on (on the barrier islands),” Pezarras said.
The public works department is leaving the role of debris removal to Ashbritt Inc., which has a contract with Ocean County.
Pezarras said Brick, like many other municipalities affected by Sandy, are resorting to short-term borrowing to cover emergency costs. Ocean County's contract for debris removal is allowing towns to reduce spending plans associated with Hurricane Sandy, Pezarras said. On Tuesday, Township Council approved cutting an emergency spending authorization by $10.5 million to $7.5 million because of the county assuming most debris removal costs.
The $15 million to $20 million estimate to Brick's infrastructure is preliminary, Pezarras said. Township engineers will need to do a more extensive survey of the bulkheads, docks and parks to have a final cost estimate, he said.
More than 40 sinkholes have developed in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath, Pezarras said.