On the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher held up a photo showing the destruction within the Township immediately after the storm.

"We stopped in the road and we looked at all of this and we said 'where do you even start to begin where to clean this up?'."

Speaking in the courtyard outside of the municipal hall on Tuesday, Kelaher discussed how far the township has come since the storm and how far they still have to go.

Superstorm Sandy, which is on record as United States’ second most expensive natural disaster (behind Hurricane Katrina), cost the state four billion in lost ratables, half of which was lost by Toms River.

The Township saw ten thousand of its homes damaged by the storm, most on the barrier islands in areas like Ortley Beach which have still not fully recovered.


Kelaher said the Township issued 1510 demolition permit of which 1190 have been completed. Conversely, of the 1030 new home permits that have been issued only 330 are occupied. The Mayor said the municipality has done all it can initially, however much of the delay now can be attributed towards delays by individual homeowners.

“The town can’t go on private property and build houses for people. Some people have walked away from their homes and some people are fighting with their insurance companies.”

Waiting for homes to be rebuilt is what is slowing down the repaving of roads in Ortley Beach said Kelaher.

“We’re not going to pave the streets until every house is built because every house needs three connections. If we pave the street by the time all the houses are connected it would look like a washboard.”

However Kelaher was quick to point out that while they’re not rebuilding at the same pace as they did initially post-Sandy, the storm is still a top priority.

“Everything in the town hall is gauged by what’s before Sandy or after Sandy. They can expect us to do everything we can but so much of it is out of our control.”

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