New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection
DEP Commissioner Bob Martin speaks to the mayors. On left is DEP Director, Office of Local Government Assistance, Cindy Randazzo.
Commissioner Martin brought the mayors up to date on DEP efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The department, he said, had five priority areas. The first is debris removal. All dry debris was cleaned from New Jersey streets in the first 100 days after the unprecedented storm, he said, but underwater debris remains a concern the DEP is working on. Most waterways will be open for the summer season so boaters should be wary of underwater objects such as sunken boats, etc. The DEP’s second priority is upgrading drinking water infrastructure. The commissioner said Sandy revealed vulnerabilities in water delivery systems and that he expects $2.6 billion in federal funding to cover repairs. However, that amount will not pay for needed upgrades, he said. Third on the department’s priority list is a coastal protection program to restore beaches and add defensive dunes. The DEP will concentrate on Monmouth County beachfront first and then on Ocean County, he said. The department’s fourth priority is the FEMA maps that will ultimately decide individual eligibility for federal flood insurance. The maps, he explained, had been in the process of being drawn well before Sandy, and the first official, preliminary maps will be issued some time this summer. Those maps will then go through a public comment process before final maps are decided upon. Finally Commissioner Martin said DEP is looking at areas that should not be rebuilt at all. The state will be spending approximately $250 million to buy as many as 1,000 homes in Sayreville, South River, and other locations to be decided, the commissioner noted.
The mayors passed three resolutions, one declaring April as Autism Awareness Month, one regarding valuation of condemned ocean-front properties, and another on recovery of debris and demolition costs from FEMA.
The Ocean County Mayors’ Association has been found tax exempt by the IRS. Donations are deductible. Documentation of this determination and related financial disclosure documents are available for public examination. The Ocean County Mayors’ Association has been found tax exempt by the IRS. Donations are deductible. Documentation of this determination and related financial disclosure documents are available for public examination.