Winter Storm Means More Costs For Shore Towns [POLL/AUDIO]
The winter storm could not come at a worse time for municipalities still financially hurting from a Superstorm and two Nor’easters.
Coastal towns were told the current winter storm could bring beach erosion and break through many of the dunes barely standing or newly rebuilt since Sandy. That creates a two- pronged attack of economic woes for municipalities, who not only have to spend money preparing for the storm, but also deal with final fallout.
Preparation includes readying manpower and equipment to strengthen the dunes and coastlines and prepare for any snow the storm might bring as well. Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says not only do plows and trucks need to be readied, but Lake Como needs to be lowered and the borough’s man made dunes need to be reinforced.
“I can’t quantify [the cost], but every time we have a storm like this it adds to the budget.” Says Doherty.
Brick Township, which is still recovering after Sandy battered the municipality, has no choice but to shoulder the costs. Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis says the township has money aside for the unanticipated cost of storms, but with Sandy much of the money has been long gone.
“So yeah this hurts, when you’re looking at every penny in the budget with the caps and property taxes being what they are. You look at every penny being spent and you don’t like to have these types of storms,” says Acropolis.
Brick is starting to craft their budget for 2013, and says timing is crucial for the next weather events.
“So obviously, with the storm hitting in March you hope that you don’t have another storm hitting in November and December because it’s all in that one year.”
Acropolis notes most of the fiscal impact of the storms will be felt in next year’s budget.
“Then the revenue numbers are really going to be felt, the lack of ratable base, and the decrease in property values.”
Belmar like many coastal towns is still rebuilding from the Superstorm and Doherty is concerned each one of these Nor’easters throws another wrench into the recovery.
“Drive around town and you’ll see a lot of work going on with roofs, siding, repairing from what Sandy did and that’s still not completed. A storm like this could have a negative impact on that as well.”
Doherty says his borough has had no tax increases in the last two years, and he’s pushing for a third increase free year.