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Somers Point approves $1.3 million in bonds for Hurricane Sandy repairs

SOMERS POINT — City Council on Thursday authorized $1.3 million in bonding for repairing and reconstructing areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Council also extended a waiver of permit and inspection fees on Sandy-impacted homes until May, as well as extending the waiver to commercial properties. Regarding the bond, the city is expected to request a waiver of the down payment requirement from the state Department of Community Affairs.

Work includes a $700,000 project at Kennedy Park, which is hoped to be completed by Memorial Day, Councilman Howard Dill said. The bluffs there are being reconstructed and a gabion is being installed.

Dill said that FEMA is expected to reimburse the city for 75 percent of the cost.

“It’s something that had to be done,” Dill said, “or else we would have lost the (waterfront) banks at the park.”

Another $500,000 is designated for repairs and improvements to the city beach on Bay Avenue, including the damaged docks, pier, gazebo, floating dock and beach retaining wall.

After Sandy, the pier’s gazebo was in the bay and part of the pier was thrown up against the wall alongside the road.

Architectural lighting and controllers will also be installed on Bay Avenue for $40,000, while another $60,000 will go toward installing new tide control valves.

The waiver on permit and inspection fees, which originally was issued in 2012 to residential properties affected by Sandy until December, was extended to May 17. Commercial properties affected by Sandy are now also included.

“What happened here is, a lot of people could not move forward on anything because the insurance companies … would not address the problem,” said City Administrator Wes Swain. “We’re getting to a point now where insurance payments are being made, and when they ask for permits, they ask for a waiver because their neighbors were waived.”

Councilman Dennis Tapp said that his father in Ventnor only received insurance payments three weeks ago.

“That’s what, five months?” Tapp asked. “That’s a long time. Obviously the window we put in (the original 2012 resolution) was too narrow.”

Contact Steven Lemongello:

609-272-7275

SLemongello@pressofac.com

Follow Steven Lemongello on Twitter @SteveLemongello

 

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