Ocean County has received back $52 million of the $96.7 million it spent collecting debris from Superstorm Sandy in 17 municipalities.
Another $8 million is in the pipeline, ready to be transferred to the county within the next week or so, said Ocean County Administrator Carl Block. Another $26 million – the remainder of what the county is owed – has made it from Washington, D.C. to Trenton, and will be delivered to the county coffers eventually.
"I would have hoped it would’ve moved along a lot faster, but I’m happy we didn’t have to borrow any money," said Freeholder John Bartlett, lauding his fellow freeholders for having enough money on hand in surplus funds to be able to take on the task of handling municipal Sandy cleanup without floating bonds.
"FEMA didn’t quite understand what we were doing," Bartlett recalled. "They had never seen it before where another level of government stepped in for the municipalities."
The county is due to ultimately be reimbursed for 90 percent of the money it spent on debris cleanup in the 17 municipalities that it partnered with in the storm's wake. The municipalities will be responsible for a combined $9.3 million which will come due July 1.
Block said each municipality was notified of the due date in November. Some towns, such as Long Beach Township, have already paid, he said.
The $96.7 million spent on municipal cleanups does not count what the county spent on removing debris from its own facilities as well as money expended on law enforcement efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
"There are also reimbursements pending for work the county did itself, the prosecutor’s office’s response to the storm," said Block. "This is just for the debris removal."