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Freeholders Approve $50 Million Emergency Storm Cleanup Appropriation

Money will be repaid by FEMA, municipalities

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders approved an emergency appropriation of $50 million on Wednesday to allow the county to pay for cleanup costs associated with Hurricane Sandy -- costs that it anticipates will be fully reimbursed.

The appropriation -- which received the blessing of the state government, Freeholder Deputy Director John Bartlett said -- will allow the county to pay the bills created through the county's contracts with AshBritt Inc. and V. Louis Berger Group, Inc., under shared services agreements with 15 towns for the removal of debris and the monitoring and paperwork that must be done.

Both companies have received approval from the state and from the Federal Emergency Management Administration as companies to handle debris removal and monitoring in storm-stricken areas.

The shared services agreements for debris removal are designed to take the stress off local municipal officials, as the two companies are experienced in what needs to be done, not only to remove the debris but to file the paperwork necessary to get FEMA reimbursement for that work.

"The county will up-front the costs of the bill, then seek reimbursement from FEMA and bill the individual towns" for their portion of the costs, Bartlett said. The standard FEMA reimbursement rate is 75 percent, but Bartlett hopes the state and county will qualify for 90 percent reimbursement, thereby leaving the towns with just 10 percent of the bill.

"We're just acting in a capacity to get this done efficiently," Bartlett said, saying the county's triple-A bond rating helps as the county looks at how to pay the bills, whether it's through tapping its $33 million in surplus to pay the bills until reimbursements are received, or bonding for some or all of the money until the county is reimbursed.

"These are going to be big bills," Bartlett said. "Towns will be hard-pressed to pay these" full amounts and then seek reimbursement."I expect the reimbursements from the town and FEMA will be quick enough that the county won’t need to borrow long-term" to cover the costs, he said.

"We want this job done," Bartlett said. "We’re going to get it done, and help our municipalities get this done."

The towns taking part in the agreement are Barnegat, Beach Haven, Berkeley, Brick, Jackson, Lavallette, Long Beach Township, Manchester, Mantoloking, Waretown, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, Stafford and Toms River.

Chief Wahoo December 06, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Bond = Debt = Slavery
Martin December 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Hope the freeloaders don't sneak any pet projects in there (as usual) such as golf courses and airport runways.
O C Tim December 06, 2012 at 03:28 PM
why do they allow 13 Commissioners @ the OCUA 5 K a yr and FREE MEDICAL BENEFITS
Martin December 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Because they're Repub. appointees -- family, friends and campaign contributors. You keep electing those thieving freeloaders.
Mr. ? December 06, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Who will scrutinize and control the spending side of this cleanup? I cant imagine the abuse and cash cow for many....? And yes, bonding and money is cheap, but isn't that all relative to tax revenue, personal income stream and interest earned (ever decreasing) and the ability to pay that debt? More debt = more foreclosures = a decreasing tax base = more taxes = more foreclosure = decrease property valuations = a more decreased tax base, with higher taxes, creating more borrowing and more and more debt! Am I repeating myself? Of course we must pay for the cleanup and repair but, who is in control of spending and control of "this" fiscal cliff? Money is cheap until those bond ratings suffer, due to any disruption of payment to bond holders ( Bartlett always touts the County's triple a bond rating ) and what if those "expected" funds from the Feds do not materialize?
Sue December 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
What website has aerial pix of Silverton after Sandy hit?
Irina December 06, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Hey John Bartlett....the angry face and the fist makes you look like a dictator...OOPS that's right you are. Spend away sweetie...not like we the taxpayers have any choice.
Irina December 06, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I'm guessing you would rather Michele Rosen or some other POS.
O C Tim December 06, 2012 at 04:24 PM
fear not Happy Gilmore will make it right lol
BN December 06, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Better put SOMETHING in there real quick, otherwise it may tun into a mosque or GLBT "community center".
Willy Nilly December 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
George Gilmore is the real crook running the show from here. He needs to be put out to pasture along with the rest of these frauds!!
tim levinson December 06, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Just a little background info on The Louis Berger Group, Inc.: In return, the Justice Department will end its investigation into allegations that Louis Berger was intentionally overcharging American taxpayers. The settlement, which is just over $69 million, includes civil and criminal penalties. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-isenberg/the-louis-berger-group-it_b_779856.html) I'm sure the money will be soundly appropriated...lol
Chief Wahoo December 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Tim O C December 06, 2012 at 08:45 PM
@ BN isnt this time for you to spew Agenda 21?
Tim O C December 06, 2012 at 08:48 PM
@ Chief Id like to give credit for the us debt to the Bush admin They invaded Iraq based on lies plus the Afghan war plus interest and dont for get medicare part d oh yeah and dont forget the Bush tax cuts that didnt produce any jobs
Chief Wahoo December 06, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Bushbama.....nothing has changed....and everyone needs to understand there is NO difference in either gang of thiefs, all the way down to the local level !
super user December 06, 2012 at 10:17 PM
$33 million in surplus ?? Why did they close the Construction Inspection Dept. in 2008?
charlotte December 06, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Silver dollar December 06, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Hope they know where Lacey township is. We gave them 14.5 million in taxes last year . and they couldn't find us . Now with 50 million you would think they would clean up the downed trees on west Lacey road Would be nice . It is a county road.
Mac December 06, 2012 at 11:42 PM
How much of the $50M is going to be spent on the search party to locate our missing sheriff? He apparently got lost looking for the Ocean County Emergency Management Leader when we needed him the most to prepare for and guide us through Hurricane Sandy. It's a good thing the sheriff and his shadow have direct deposit or that $4,000 a week he earns being AWOL would be sitting around uselessly in various payroll accounts unspent.
Tom Cular December 06, 2012 at 11:55 PM
He didn't get lost, he was just out looking for a store that had an adequate supply of Depends.
KC December 07, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Well why he is spending, will he please get Public Works or FEMA to Lenape Lane in Cedarcroft as there is still furniture and sheet rock debris piled up all over. We have wires hanging and spotty phone service. Many still have no heat. Boilers promised in January. We also have bags, and bags, and bags and bags and bags and bags of leaves, downed tree's pile up and are badly in need of a streetsweep as there is broken glass all over the road. While trucks were in here two days they need to please finish the clearup. It isn't fair that all but two homes on a block get picked up for example as on Tuscaloosa. Residents please pick up your phones and call this in. This neighborhood looks like a bomb went off yet no -one apart from adjusters and private contractors is back here clearing and cleaning.
Ken G December 07, 2012 at 12:41 PM
"Better put SOMETHING in there real quick, otherwise it may tun into a mosque or GLBT "community center". And what is wrong with those two things? Is the "true" side coming out? The side that says "I'm not Prejudice" but really are?
Mrgrumpass December 07, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Mac & Tom are the only contributors here who make sense, the rest of you are just using this topic to B & complain. I truly believe that there should be a recall vote on the sheriff, he was no where to be found during this diasater, what a waste of taxpayers votes and money! The Sheriff has to go!
grace December 07, 2012 at 11:58 PM
who are these freeholders? can anyone go to a meeting? where when etc
grace December 08, 2012 at 12:00 AM
you are correct i dont understand how he wasnt put away with the ritacco scandal...he was in the middle of that
grace December 08, 2012 at 12:02 AM
so funny yet so true...he was found driving around lost in seaside..fire dept had to rescue him and lead him out...no lie
grace December 08, 2012 at 12:03 AM
heard mastronardy wants job
tom e gunn December 08, 2012 at 02:00 AM
And they must be letting the big fish fry. Here's a little something from business week. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-20/ex-louis-berger-group-president-charged-with-false-claims.html And the other firm got a cool billion for cleaning up after Katrina!


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