Governor Announces Grant Funding for Toms River
Allows Township to Rebuild after Superstorm Sandy
TOMS RIVER TOWNSHIP- Governor Chris Christie came to Toms River yesterday to discuss the Essential Services Grant that was given to the Township to offset potential increases in property taxes that could have risen by as much as 30%.
At the Toms River Police Station, Governor Christie told the crowd of media and residents, “The damage inflicted by Sandy had a devastating impact on the ratable base in this Township. Approximately 18% of the ratable base was lost after Sandy. Any town that suffered that type of significant ratable base loss would be severely affected in its ability to provide services, or have to look at monumental property tax increases in order to continue to provide these services.”
Governor Christie stated that the Essential Services Grant for New Jersey is $60 million, and Toms River would be receiving $28 million of that portion. The Township received $15.5 million and Toms River officials were pro-active in getting an additional $12.5 million in funding on behalf of the Toms River Board of Education.
Mayor Thomas Kelaher said, “This is an absolute godsend for Toms River and I’m grateful to the Governor and his staff for all of the help they rendered to direct these Federal funds to Toms River. In the absence of these funds, we would have been faced with the dilemma of massive tax hikes or massive layoffs. Thanks to Governor Christie and this money, those steps will not be necessary.”
The grants are funded through the Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery monies provided by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which is part of the Sandy Recovery Bill passed by Congress.
“If not for these grants, Toms River would have been forced to cut back on critical services including laying off anywhere between 30-40 police officers, which is approximately 25% of the force,” Christie stated. He then added that there could have been the possibility of also laying off the entire Public Works force assigned to residential trash and recycling pickup, reducing funding to the volunteer First Aid Squads and laying off code enforcement officials, thus slowing down the community’s rebuilding effort.
“Through this program,” Christie said, “We’re in a position to provide a total of $60 million to Sandy-impacted communities to help pay for critical public services, such as police and fire, education and public works as they continue to recover from the storm.”
Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which is administering the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for New Jersey, said in a statement, “Essential Services Grants are really a vehicle to bridge funding for these Sandy-impacted local governments as they work to get back on their feet.”
Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher (at podium) stated, “The Essential Services Grant preserves the existing levels of our essential services, which is vital to restoring our community.” Far left: DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, with Governor Chris Christie and Chief Mike Mastronardy. Rear: Toms River Police Officers and Class I Officers. Photo credit: Debbi Winogracki
Governor Chris Christie announces $28 million Essential Services Grant for Toms River. Photo credit: Debbi Winogracki