Commercial Debris Approved for FEMA Reimbursement

Collection cost will be reimbursed by the federal agency

Federal officials have agreed to reimburse the township for the collection of storm debris from commercial properties. 

Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher and Ocean County officials have received word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that their three months worth of making the request for reimbursement has been approved.

"This program will be reimbursed by FEMA, in the same manner as other storm related residential debris," reads a township statement

Township Public Information Officer Debbi Winogracki said that, while removal of such debris was "technically" the responsibility of commercial entities, many had already paid tens of thousands of dollars for debris removal and couldn't afford to pay more.

"The township is doing everything possible to restore the beach area back to pre-Sandy conditions, and the revitalization of the businesses are essential to the restoration," Kelaher said in a statment.

According to Kelaher, FEMA has a long-standing policy of not providing reimbursements to municipalities for commercial property debris removal. The reimbursement will be made in the same way as with residential properties.

"This is unprecedented for FEMA to pay for the debris removal costs on private businesses. I’m thankful that they approved this for us because it was creating a hardship for our business owners," Kelaher said in a statement. 

The debris must already have been placed curbside, in the right-of-way of the property, and inspected by FEMA to be picked up. All other commercial debris removal remains the property owner's responsibility, according to the township. 

Crews were already removing commercial debris from businesses along Route 35 in Ortley Beach Thursday and are expected to finish sometime next week, according to Public Works Director Lou Amoruso. 

Joe Salleroli February 08, 2013 at 02:50 PM
The Mayor and all the council members should have a walking tour of all of Ortley Beach instead of a bus tour. Walk and see close up the devastation and talk to the people that live there and enduring the heartbreaking reality they are going through. If they even think of raising taxes instead of re-evaluating the land and homes they should be ashamed! Remember this when election time comes around vote them out.
mjmjr February 08, 2013 at 03:07 PM
mjmjr February 08, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Pat S. February 08, 2013 at 07:32 PM
It's about time that these elected officials take a tour (walking, as Joe S.said) and actually familiarize themselves with life on the barrier island. They don't know anything about it in normal times, no less now after Sandy. They avoid dialogue with residents of the island; it's their way or the highway. I guess it's true that ignorance is bliss-
Barbara February 08, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Fine, just someone should follow the money trail, and where it actually ends up....lots of money involved changing hands, because of this storm......I am skeptical of all funds being dispersed, because it is a huge amount. Let us see who starts spending big amounts for personal use, and keep an eye on all officials. This is the norm after big storms. Look what happened to the mayor in New Orleans. Boy, did he help himself after Katrina....meanwhile all volunteers busted their butts to help their towns. Real heroes, one and all.


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