City manager issues update on storm recovery

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Piles of debris at the golf course await removal by dump trucks. Photo by Jim Miller.

The city of Brigantine is in recovery mode from the devastation caused by Sandy. I’ve spoken with various contractors and federal, state and county representatives, and the feedback I am receiving is good. Brigantine is ahead of the curve on cleanup and disaster area recovery and services. It takes an island!

It is because of city employees’ hard work and the big hearts and generosity of Brigantine residents that we are able to move forward towards getting our lives back to normal. This will be a long process, especially for Brigantiners on the north end of the island. Many lost everything and are finding it both emotionally and financially difficult each day. Even people experiencing their worst hardships are coming to the aid of others, providing food, shelter, toiletries, baby items, debris removal, and on and on. I have never been part of a community filled with so many who want to help their fellow neighbors. It is a beautiful sight.

I would like to take this opportunity to go over some post-storm services that are available, and address some concerns.

First, the Community Center on 42nd Street is now open as a community outreach program. Volunteers are staffing the center and providing materials, supplies and services to Brigantine people in need. If you would like to donate any supplies, such as baby furniture, baby food, diapers, cleaning supplies, blankets or toiletries, or if you would like to volunteer answering phones, coordinating services, unpacking items, cleaning homes or removing debris, please call the center at (609) 234-7350. All donations of clothing, blankets, linens, or towels must be new, not used.

If you are in need of anything, including temporary housing, please call the community center and we will find help for you. Mike Feely is the volunteer coordinator and will be able to answer most questions for you.

Any monetary donations or food should be sent to True Spirit Coalition at the Community Presbyterian Church, 1501 W. Brigantine Ave., (609) 266-7942.

FEMA representatives are at the Community Center to answer questions you may have about FEMA services and procedures. There will be one FEMA representative available to help with the application process. Since many people will want to take advantage of the service, call (609) 234-7350 in advance to arrange an appointment time.

Trash service

Trash pickup requirements have been updated. The city will continue to remove all trash, debris and bulk items through Wednesday, Nov. 14. Please make sure that all items are out at the curb by the end of the day Monday, Nov. 12. All items placed out after Monday will be the owner’s responsibility and will follow regular trash service rules. The ACUA (our trash removal service provider) allows only two bulk items. In addition, rugs will need to be dropped off at the ACUA.

Inspections

The city has received help from the county for inspections. We currently have four teams of inspectors that will be focusing on the north end, which has the highest population of unsafe homes due to Sandy. Please call the city’s construction department at (609) 266-7600, ext. 261 if you have any questions or believe your home is unsafe. You may already see some homes red-tagged as unsafe.

There are three designations of unsafe:

1. Unsafe with corrective action

2. Unsafe due to lack of utilities; vacation is necessary

3. Unsafe to tear down

Renter permits

The city has waived the need to have a rental permit prior to moving into a rental unit. However, the rental permit application must be submitted to the city prior to moving in. The city will complete inspections and issue the permit following the move-in.

Fire hazards

Any building that loses electricity may experience fire when the electricity is returned. Please be mindful and call the fire department immediately if you believe a fire may have started.

Gas meter inspections

Gas meters may be compromised once saltwater gets into the gas meter. This may result in fire or other issues, even weeks after the water intrusion occurred. Any gas meter that may have been exposed should be inspected by a plumber.

Insurance

Gov. Christie is working on designating Sandy as a tropical storm. The designation of the storm as tropical will result in a lower deductible than a hurricane designation. Please check with your insurance company that the right designation was used.

Contractors

There are a number of disreputable contractors who prey on residents in disaster-prone areas. Please be cautious about hiring any contractor, especially ones that you are unfamiliar with, who may show up at your home or advertise illegally in the city. Please call the police if you come into contact with anyone who seems suspicious. This could save both you and others from commercial scams.

For information on reliable contractors see https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/Search.aspx?facility=Y.

Please stay safe and please contact the city if you need anything to help recover from Sandy. We are a community that works together. There are many people who want to help, and we can assist in finding the help that you need.


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