Several island communities will receive sizable reimbursements for money they expended during the cleanup from Superstorm Sandy, officials said.
The Ocean County freeholder board will be distributing more than $9.3 million to the 17 municipalities, including a number of island towns, that participated in the county’s debris removal program following the October 2012 storm. Lavallette will receive $921,529; Seaside Heights will receive $345,112; Seaside Park will receive $112,581 and Mantoloking will receive $306,226. Toms River will receive $2,298,677, which is inclusive of both its island and mainland cleanup efforts.
In the wake of the storm, Ocean County officials centralized storm cleanup under a single contract and invited all of its municipalities to join the joint effort.
“This was a program we were, in part, criticized for but it provided some of the greatest results to our towns and our residents following a storm that devastated this County,” Freeholder John Bartlett said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome.”
The county hired AshBritt to manage the cleanup effort, which came under scrutiny after it was revealed that Ocean County Republican Chairman George R. Gilmore had been hired as a consultant for the company.
Under the shared services agreement agreement between the county and its municipalities, the county would be reimbursed by both the Federal Emergency Management Administration at 90 percent and the towns, at 10 percent for the required local match. Officials said the agreement allowed towns to free up staff to tend to other storm related activities and provide assistance to citizens. Seventeen of the county’s 33 municipalities entered into the shared services agreement.
“Debris removal was key and we knew we had to do it,” Bartlett said. “We came up with a plan. We did a good thing for our towns and residents and we successfully received full reimbursement for it. We got their share back for them and we will be sending them checks.”