"We don't know" seemed to be the theme of the Stafford Council meeting held last night.
Instead of meetings about major bridge projects and appearances by the Lieutenant Governor, the meeting was one of doubt, and "we know as much as you."
The Council introduced the new FEMA flood advisory maps. Several town officials stated that this is what is best for the town, and continued telling townsfolk it will all be OK, when we all know it won't be.
When answers were given, unfortunately, there did not appear to be a sunny side. The night featured some doom and gloom from many town officials, including Administrator Jim Moran, who seems frustrated with the entire process.
When residents asked about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Moran used the Seaside Heights boardwalk as an example of a project that would probably first get funding from the program. The town was told they would have to absorb the administrative costs associated with this.
Mayor John Spodofora expressed his own frustration - with the flood maps that have been introduced.
Spodofora said the Council is introducing the flood maps, because, he said, they have been told residents won't be eligible for the HMPG or the Increased Cost of Compliance benefit if the town doesn't adopt the maps. "We're stuck with a situation with FEMA, saying we can't challenge these maps until October," so Spodofora said, they plan to introduce and adopt the maps, with the knowlege that town officials plan on challenging many aspects of the maps, including the V zone.
The town attorney Senator Christopher J. Connors stated his own frustration of having to sit through town meetings like this, where he has to wear the hat of an attorney rather than a State Senator. Legislation sponsored by Connors to designate more than $125 million for the Green Acres and Blue Acres Fund for recreation and conservation purposes has been signed into law. Read the bill here.
There was a lot of confusion surrounding the HMPG and the Increased Cost of Compliance benefit. Spodofora referred to a letter he received some minutes before Governors Christie's Town Hall meeting, which clarifies some of the questions but raises others. Link here http://twp.stafford.nj.us/images/uploads/FEMAPressRelease.pdf
But don't fret. There is always that bridge project, which will help create jobs. Too bad no homes will be left to house anyone once the bridge project is complete.
Maybe we can get Dave Letterman to have our FEMA representatives on for some donuts and jokes. Meanwhile, the answers we get are "we don't know."
"We Don't Know," the newest T-shirt trending on Twitter.