The following column was submitted by Toms River Councilman Brian Kubiel:
Almost every department in town hall is still very busy working on Hurricane Sandy-related projects. Toms River is moving forward and getting projects done.
The Township Council recently awarded a contract to the Tekton Development Corp. for over $950,000 to rebuild our boardwalk in Ortley Beach. The contract requires the northern 600 feet by the 3rd Avenue Lot to be complete by June 1, 2013, because we expect to open a portion of the beach between 3rd and 5th Avenues to be open for swimming by Memorial Day.
There is also ongoing construction at the Ortley Beach Lord House Lifeguard building, which we anticipate will be completed by Aug. 15. Construction in other areas of Ortley and the Northern Beach sections of town will be based upon the reconstruction of Ocean Terrace/Avenue.
We also created a Municipal Annex/Police sub-station at the Ortley Shopping Center. Residents can go in and speak to the Toms River Police Department with any questions or concerns they may have. We recently held a Mobile Cabinet at that location with state government officials on hand to help residents with questions they may have regarding the Hurricane Sandy recovery process and be able to talk to various State Department representatives face to face.
Those departments included representatives from FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Department of Banking and Insurance, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community Affairs (for Code and standards and housing questions) the Business Action Center and the Governor's Office of Constituent Relations. The outreach program was successful, so we are hoping that Governor Christie’s office will consider doing that again.
In regards to the FEMA maps, when they were first promulgated, our Township Engineer, Bob Chankalian, in consult with Mayor Thomas Kelaher and the council, made the determination that there were obvious errors in the maps, particularly as they related to the "V" zones.
These discrepancies were brought to the attention in a detailed letter by Chankalian. Thereafter, the mayor, our business administrator, engineer and various members of the governing body met with representatives from FEMA to discuss the discrepancies in the maps. FEMA representatives are adamant that until they are able to complete their wave-testing models, they will not make any changes to the map. They anticipate the adjustments will be available this August.
Residents should know that we are here to answer their questions. Also, any updates in progress and changes are always available on our website at www.TomsRiverTownship.com