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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 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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