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Nearly Half of N.J.'s Lost Ratables During Sandy Were in Toms River

New Jersey as a whole lost almost $4.3 billion in ratables

When public officials from across the state met last week at the state League of Municipalities convention in Atlantic City, the state's recovery from Superstorm Sandy was still the most talked-about item.

But there was one sobering statistic – a somewhat obvious, but still stunning revelation – that hit home for those in the local contingent: nearly half of the entire state's lost ratables during the storm were in Toms River Township.

"It certainly demonstrates the serious problems we had in Toms River," said Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher.

As the township continues to recover, the numerical figures denoting the losses have piled up as much as the debris. The township, one of the state's largest suburban municipalities, lost 18 percent of its tax base. Entire neighborhoods such as Ortley Beach, Green Island and significant portions of Silverton, East Dover and the northern beaches were heavily damaged.

Toms River, in total, lost approximately $2.4 billion in ratables. New Jersey as a whole lost $4.3 billion in ratables statewide.

The township has since reassessed properties – a task that was in the works before the storm struck due to thousands of successful tax appeals over the past several years – and received tens of millions of dollars in stopgap funding from federal sources to prevent large tax hikes.

It is township officials' hope that the tax base will eventually return.

"I foresee a recovery to the ratable base, that's what I expect," said Township Administrator Paul Shives at a recent meeting of the township council. "We are hopeful and optimistic that that takes place, but I couldn't tell you what [Toms River] will look like."

Meanwhile, the township is preparing to demolish as many as 150 to 200 homes that have been effectively abandoned since Sandy and have become safety hazards. Another 4,000 people whose homes were significantly damaged in the storm will need to eventually raise them or face the loss of flood insurance and potential fines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials said.
proud November 29, 2013 at 02:58 PM
What gives FEMA the authority to fine people if they don't raise their homes?
proud November 29, 2013 at 08:52 PM
So, if I get this straight, FEMA via the NFIP is going to revoke flood insurance policies. Are you kidding me?
Daniel Nee (Editor) November 30, 2013 at 01:31 AM
proud - That is true. There was also the mention of FEMA levying fines. I am going to follow up on that aspect as I had not heard it discussed to any great extent before a recent TR council meeting.
proud November 30, 2013 at 06:29 AM
Oh, I think I get it. Flood insurances a privilege.
grace November 30, 2013 at 09:53 AM
welcome to toms river
letsgetreal November 30, 2013 at 03:09 PM
I would like to see how many LA and MISS residents have risen and have gotten Flood Insurance especially in New Orleans....and the Parishes....YEA prob NON but lets hammer middle income NJ residents because they have TOO much another example of redistribution..

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