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Toms River Lost 20 Percent of Tax Base From Sandy - Mayor Says

Mayor Thomas Kelaher says Toms River lost 20 percent of tax base and the devastation raises questions about how it will be rebuilt.

Toms River lost 20 percent of its tax base after Hurricane Sandy struck in late October and it remains to be seen how the beachfront sections of the township will be rebuilt, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said.

Kelaher questioned whether properties could be insured, a key element to obtaining mortgages that property owners may need to rebuild.

Kelaher made his comments at a press conference on Friday with other officials at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center on Fischer Boulevard.

Gary Colton, public information officer from the Small Business Association, said the program is coordinating low-interest loans up to $200,000 for homeowners and businesses through FEMA.  Loans are also being provided up to $40,000 for personal property, which would pertain to renters, Colton said.

One of the biggest concerns among homeowners is gaining access to properties in Toms River's beach front communities.  Residents living north of Lavallette will be able to take their cars there this weekend, depending upon where they live.  Ortley Beach residents will be able to take buses to certain zones of the township this weekend based on where they live, the township said on its Website.  

"Every day the roads improve or they don't," said Paul Daley from the Office of Emergency Management.  The conditions are very much in flux on the barrier islands, so it is not easy to plan beyond a few days for granting access, he said.

Praise for Public Works

Kelaher praised township emergency services and employees' efforts, particularly  public works crews that brought heavy equipment to evacuate residents during the storm.

"This really brings out the best in people," Kelaher said.

He also singled out the efforts of Silverton's volunteer firefighters, many of whom have lost their homes, but continued with their duties.

Kelaher also mentioned cooperation with Toms River's school district, which housed 1,000 residents during the storm and provided the buses to get people to the peninsula.  He also thanked the Edele Hovnanian, whose family provided the site for FEMA to conduct operations on Fischer Boulevard. Hovnanian said they will provide up to $1 million to help local churches and non-profits in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to help with storm relief.

Even with Toms River showing a great deal of community spirit during the crisis, the Mayor said the devastation affected him.

"One of the saddest things I've seen is people who brought an empty suitcase and they came back with an empty suitcase because there was no home for them to bring anything back," Kelaher said.

Johnjcpa November 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Toms River was incorporated before the revolution, we educated our kids before this storm, we'll educate them after. My brother has a home smaller than mine in Middlesex County, his school taxes are higher than my total tax bill and they haven't built a school since WWII.
John November 17, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Toms river thinks everybody in Ortley is well to do people that's not true iam not a rich man been in Ortley for 44 years when it was nice. All the big houses toms river just looks at the tax dollar. No more building on the beach.
grace November 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM
all the way down the shore line was devastated take a look at bayville forked river ocean gate and so on they too have lost their homes its so sad ..neighborhoods destroyed
grace November 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
smells like the bay in my house
grace November 17, 2012 at 02:02 PM
it may be a dream people but it was beautiful to drive over the bridge and see the homes and charm of those towns...i pray for all of you that you can get back to them as soon as safe and possible....i said it might be a dream but i would love it to be rebuilt .. nothing like a drive over to see the ocean, walk the boards and a day at our beaches....
dainty November 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I agree with you. Id rather look at the glass half full than half empty* We rebuild and go forward!
SB Girl November 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The barrier island pays 40% of Toms River's taxes...for very little services...we don't use the schools and really only get true services in the summer months...while our taxes doubled after the 2010 reval...most on the mainland went down...Are you prepared to pay for this?
John November 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
As an Ortley Beach resident I take exception to you winney mainlanders. I have flood insurance that I pay for to rebuild my home. As far as the infrastructure goes, do you feel any damage to mainland Toms River or Brick should not be rebuilt? Exactly! If you do the math the barrier islands account for 33% of the real estate tax base for Ocean County and for many, many, many years have not used or been provided the same services as mainlanders. I know all mainlanders are not as ill advised as some commenting above, so please know this is only meant for the uneducated few. We will rebuild and we'll be better than ever..........in time.
taxed-out-the-wazoo November 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
SG Girl-Yeah, some just DON'T get it. And Neptune's comment, in particular, doesn't he understand that Island Beach STATE park is STATE revenue...not county/township. When bozos like this start to pay the taxes we do (while only using AND, unfortunately, actually GETTING very little services), then it will sink in. Also, the dune replenishment should be for public and private beaches. Now is not the time to engage in this argument....the private beach properties (if they even still exist) helped block some water and wind for the rest of the community. Occasional dumping of sand for the good of the entire community, in particular where beach property may no longer exist (so what are they protecting?) is NOT adverse possession. Build the dunes...protect the ENTIRE community....including the taxpayers on the beach. The TR barrier island communities have bigger issues than this right now.
Donna Griffin November 17, 2012 at 06:39 PM
John - Actually, your flood insurance coverage will be supplemented by FEMA (a federally, taxpayer funded administration). FEMA covers a good chunk of the repair on owner-occupied homes because otherwise waterfront and flood zone residents would not be able to afford the true premium rates for full flood coverage. Try quadrupling your flood premium. That would be more in line with the actual risk ratio of the insurers. Conversely, if my "mainland" home were to burn down, you will fund zero toward rebuilding it. Flood insurance works quite differently. I would be a little less harsh to the folks on our side of the bridge. The general taxpayer is essential in your ability to live on the island and truth-be-told, we are also going to bear the bulk of the burden of rebuilding that island. Let's not forget that we are all hurting. However, we will all rebuild this wonderful place.
taxed-out-the-wazoo November 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
King Neptune - Math isn't your strongsuit, huh? Do you get it yet...the barrier island revenue and taxes pay for YOU/your property? And, yes, Donna...agreed. However, some of this anger by barrier islanders v. mainlanders (and vice/versa) has been brewing for years and was never stamped out by officials who had a duty to do so. When officials/representatives refer to barrier islander taxpayers as "those people"...not good. Also, just putting out there a note that my OB tax bill not only pays for public services, but we pay an add'l fee because we need to use a neighboring gov't's fire department since ours was shut down. So, we are taxed double for the same service...for our Township fire dept. and then for the neighboring fire department who will respond in time. Hence, the Fire tax specifically outlined in the bill. See...we pay for our services and THEN some. But, let's get the community on its feet
taxed-out-the-wazoo November 17, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Here...here John. Check out my above posting, too. Not sure people realize that we actually pay for double services for some public services. Because our fire dept was shut down, we pay an add'l fee for a neighboring one. So, we are taxed double for the same service...for our Township fire dept. and then for the neighboring fire department who will respond in time. So, there is an itemization in the bill for an add'l Fire tax. Just pointing out that OB pays for not only its rarely used services, but pays THEN some. And, agreed....first things first, get the community on its feet as soon as possible. The community being the barrier islands AND mainland.
taxed-out-the-wazoo November 17, 2012 at 07:28 PM
And, just have to say, please someone take the microphone away from the Mayor. WHat is he thinking speaking publicly about a possible insurance issue? How about discussing this with the Governor and MAKING sure insurance companies will continue to insure and penalize those companies that will hike up rates similar to illegal usery charges (for the island AND the mainland)? I am sure Cuomo and company will take care of NY and it's carriers, accordingly (since NY is the state which has been vigilant about going after wrongdoing in the financial industry [including insurance carriers] re the economic crash). Pretty sure with this one...private companies are probably defering MOST coverage issues to FEMA, anyway (not saying they should, but that will be a fight between the insurance companies and the insured...the bad faith litigation will be through the roof).
taxed-out-the-wazoo November 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Donna - just trying to clarify. Are you saying that because FEMA premiums are not as expensive as they could be because taxpayers contribute? Btw-I and my family are taxpayers too. I can reasonably conclude that probably John and his family are as well. So the $1,000's of dollars paid into the economy/taxbase by me/my family (and many others in many states) to both private AND FEMA insurance every year would be even more but for we, the taxpayers? Please know that that this is the 1st time either ins. carrier has been needed to be used by my family [luckily]). Is this what you are trying to say? Couldn't we say that about everything, like the real estate taxes of the barrier islanders carrying the mainlanders? And, likewise, if my barrier island home burnt down or had a man-made peril, than the flood, it would be covered by my private insurance, too. And, as I read John's comment, he was only addressing those who were being harsh mainlanders...instead of community rebuilders. And, like he and you both reitterate...let's rebuild and get it done so we, taxpayers....can ALL enjoy OUR community/county/state.
Irina November 17, 2012 at 09:23 PM
How sad. I know most of Toms River hated that eyesore. I was hoping the BOE would've taken the money and did something wothwhile with it. I can only imagine what it's gonna like like when "inflated"....Uglier with a big patch.
Ms. G. November 17, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Your services are rarely used on the barrier because MOST (not all) of the residents are rarely there. I've lived in TR all my 48 years, and can't imagine viewing it as a this side that side town. (the bridge) i've always viewed it as one community, that has summer perks here and winter perks there. The public systems in place, cost what they cost to run.....it is what it is.....are TAX DEPENDENT and are FOR ALL and paid BY ALL, for ALL to enjoy, as frequently or infrequently YOU CHOOSE to utilize the benefits of this most wonderful, beautiful, quaint, exciting, fun COMMUNITY we call TOMS RIVER TOWNSHIP and we call HOME. ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES folks, help a neighbor, even if that neighbor is a Barnegat Bay away. Stop OPINIONATING about things you can't control. PRODUCE things like smiles, good deeds and a positive outlook. My heart goes to ALL who have lost......on BOTH sides of the bridge!
Project Bluebeam November 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM
What's a "winny" mainlander? I'm for cutting the BOE budget by 50%.
Donna Griffin November 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
taxed - Trust me. I am not underestimating the importance of tax revenue from the barrier island. It is fundamentally important in running this town. What I am simply saying is that the feds developed FEMA because of the astronomical cost of flood insurance premiums and the unwillingness of flood zone residents to buy it or to even have the ability to afford it. But for FEMA, you as a flood zone resident would be paying no less than 4 times what you are currently paying in flood insurance premium payments. You pay a reduced rate because of the federal program's backing. As a result, the taxpayers (by and large non-flood zone residents) fund the FEMA program so that it will supplement those insurance benefits not covered by your own flood insurance policy. By doing so, the cost of flood insurance dropped to a tolerable level for the average waterfront homeowner. The risk and cost of that supplemental coverage is absorbed by EVERY taxpayer. To sum it up, we need each other to maintain our oceanfront community. The barrier island residents need the mainlanders just as much as the other way around.
Donna Griffin November 17, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Amen, Ms. G. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
grace November 17, 2012 at 11:27 PM
and as far as fema picking up what our flood ins doesnt pay for, we have to wait and see about that... think they offer low interest loans not money we dont have to pay back
Lisa November 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Very well said Mrs. G. Why can't we all just get along.
Donna Griffin November 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Jenny - My understanding is that those low interest FEMA loans are for those property owners (business and residential) without private flood policies. They will receive no replacement value simply a loan, which will need to be repaid, to make their repairs. Provided the effected property was a primary residence for the homeowner with flood insurance, FEMA, in conjunction with your flood insurer, should make the homeowner whole. I filed a FEMA claim for a primary residence flooded during Hurricane Irene in north Jersey. The homeowner did not maintain a flood insurance policy. He was denied any replacement/repair benefits from FEMA because of the lack of a private flood policy. He was eligible for temporary housing assistance, but nothing with respect to repair costs.
letsgetreal November 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Ms. G Your one of the FEW voices of reason on here....nice Post!
candy November 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM
As an Ortley resident, I just want to take this opportunity again to thank OUR Toms River Police for their dedication and caring to the Ortley folks after the storm. they truly demonstrated to us that we are part of the Toms River family and family pulls together at times like this.
molly November 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Candy; I second your comment,they did a great job and we now know how bad it is first hand after being there this week.
Johnjcpa November 18, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The reason you have to buy insurance at all is your mortgage company. And many insurance companies won't give you a policy at all if you're that close to open water. I'm four miles from the bay and GEICO and AAA won't issue any policy. If there weren't any Federal flood insurance, you won't have any policy. And more insurance companies are going to pull out of the market after this. The whole concept of building on cement slabs without sinking pilings and raising the house is probably gone forever.
Johnjcpa November 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The reason you need a neighboring town fire dept is the lack of volunteers at the beach.
Johnjcpa November 18, 2012 at 03:06 PM
They're not just going to change rates, they will pull out of the market completely. There are many companies now that won't issue policies along the beach. FEMA is not insurance, it's disaster relief and they issue low interest loans.
Parent November 26, 2012 at 09:37 PM
You all started paying more taxes when your properties were reassessed a few years back and then most of you appealed it anyway. So you haven't always been paying the bulk of the taxes. A lot of areas on the barrier islands get flooded even when there is a regular rain storm. The money from FEMA comes from taxes or t bonds and we are 16 trillion dollars in debt and growing. Any houses rebuilt should be built up higher or not at all. The government can not keep bailing people out indefinitely, where will the money come from?
Robert February 12, 2013 at 09:04 PM
where will money come from to rebuild at the new higher elevation as you suggest we should all do. Maybe you should mind your own business with your stupid suggestion cause you surely are not involved in tjis proposal as for we "ALL APPEALED" before when we were raised that is BS i have not and my neighbors have not And IF we do appeal it is out right to not be overcharged dont cry to me argentina when your neighborhood is affected see if you still say the government should not help thats what makes this counmtry great you idiot

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