Paying for Cleanup the Latest Sandy Insult to Hit Oceanport
The borough council approved $700,000 in emergency appropriations at Thursday night's meeting.
The Oceanport Borough Council approved $700,000 in emergency appropriations at Thursday's meeting for cleanup following Hurricane Sandy.
"We're hoping we don't need that much money," Gregory S. Mayers, the borough's chief financial officer, said at the Nov. 15 meeting held at Maple Place School and attended by about 20 residents.
The borough will budget no less that $140,000 over the next five years to cover the appropriation.
"Hopefully before the first payment is due we have some FEMA or insurance money come in," Mayers said.
The Oceanport Office of Emergency Management has estimated $367 million in damages to the borough and residents due to Hurricane Sandy.
Immediately following the storm, officials were looking at a figure a few hundred thousand dollars less, but with bills beginning to come in from the cleanup, Mayers said, "The consensus was to budget high so we don't have to come back for more."
Mayers said the borough had spent about $200,000 to date for services like movers to pack and haul items from borough hall and ServPro for cleaning.
Borough Attorney John O. Bennett III made a point of commending the borough for its handling of debris removal, and in particular the Borough Administrator and Clerk Kim Jungfer.
Bennett said that as the borough attorney for a number of local municipalities, he's seen how different towns have used different methods for clearing debris following the hurricane. One local town hired what Bennett referred to as a "vulture company" to clean vegetation waste from streets and found that the initial $400,000 estimate for the work ballooned over two weeks to $900,000. That town also hired a monitor to oversee applying for FEMA assistance, which cost another $167,000.
In Oceanport, Jungfer hired "local people that know the town and care" and served as the monitor for FEMA applications, Bennett said.
"The administrator of this town has saved taxpayers literally hundreds of thousands of dollars," Bennett said, which was greeted by applause.