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Mayor: 'Ortley Beach is Known as Ground Zero'

Mayor says residents need to mentally prepare themselves for devastation

Column as submitted by Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher:

I  want to remind all Toms River residents that plans are currently underway for barrier island residents to get back into their homes as soon as feasibly possible.  

I don't know that our residents fully understand the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has had on our beach community. Ortley Beach is known as Ground Zero.   I think our residents need to mentally prepare themselves for what they'll see.  Landmarks are not there anymore.  Parking lots have had their asphalt ripped apart and literally thrown to the other side of the street.  Houses have no staircases.  Many homes were pulled from their foundation and are leaning on the dirt.  Many homes are not structurally sound to even enter.  Add to the fact that the roads are cluttered with enormous piles of debris, over 20 sinkholes and several dislodged homes are blocking the pathway to several roads. 

We understand that other towns have allowed residents into their homes.   We cannot comment on what other towns are doing, but we have been told, as per the NJ Department of Transportation, State Office of Emergency Management Officials and Public Safety personnel, that we are not allowed access until their assessments are completed.  We need to abide by their orders for the safety of all residents.  We have been blessed in the fact that there were not any fatalities or major injuries.  I'm not going to overrule the DOT's safety procedure to appease outspoken individuals.

 

Arrangements are underway for a safe re-entry plan and residents will be updated on our township website the moment that information becomes available.  You will be given ample notice and multiple opportunities to visit your homes, get belongings and winterize.

 

Thank you for your continued patience during this difficult time.

 

Tax Questions

 

Tax Payments

Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Toms River Township Council will be passing a resolution at its next public meeting that will authorize the extension of the grace period for the payment of real estate taxes through December 31, 2012.

This resolution will waive any late payment interest fees relating to the fourth-quarter 2012 real property taxes.

 

My house is damaged or non-existent.  Do I still need to pay my taxes?

The Township is awaiting advice from the New Jersey Division of Taxation regarding real estate taxes for homes affected by the storm.  These taxes are regulated by the State of New Jersey and not Toms River Township, and all local plans must be approved.  Updates will be posted on the website.

John November 12, 2012 at 03:09 AM
This is what a few of us Ortley Beach residents witnessed this morning on Rt37. After 2 weeks and counting, NO ACCESS TO OUR PROPERTIES. With all the tax dollars that TR milks from us. We get a humiliating school bus ride to our properties for 1 hour with 1 suitcase to remove our belongings. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=em-share_video_user&v=-g7MYfleX-o&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-g7MYfleX-o%26feature%3Dem-share_video_user
Amy November 12, 2012 at 04:43 AM
RalPh: By definition, "Ground Zero" describes the point on the Earth's surface closest to a detonation or the point of mass destruction... Yes, the term was used to reference the damage to Lower Manhattan on 9/11 but the term was NOT created for that catastrophic event just rightfully used to describe it. The Mayor does not need to apologize for using the term and if you think so, you are misinformed and totally missing the point.
Amy November 12, 2012 at 04:45 AM
By definition, "Ground Zero" describes the point on the Earth's surface closest to a detonation or the point of mass destruction... Yes, the term was used to reference the damage to Lower Manhattan on 9/11 but the term was NOT created for that catastrophic event just rightfully used to describe it. There is no disrespect n using this term. If you think so, you are misinformed and totally missing the point. Worry about what matters - getting the barrier islands safe for re-entry, cleaned and re-built.
John November 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM
I guess Keyport and Union Beach doesn't have major destruction, they do. Boats/ cars on bridges and in the water and roadways upside down. With gas and oil leaking in the waterways and in the communities. Businesses destroyed roads torn up and poles down. The whole town of Union Beach and parts of Keansburg have to be leveled. Was it the same destruction as Ortley, probably not as big. BUT MAJOR..... And the difference is, the day after the storm people were helping people. They are climbing thru the rubble cleaning up. The difference is, 2 HARD WORKING BLUE COLLAR TOWNS WORKING TOGETHER. THEY WEREN'T BLOCKED OFF FROM THEIR HOMES OR BROUGHT IN ON A BUS TWO WEEKS LATER. A week fine, 2 weeks is becoming a JOKE. I think the Mayor is still standing with his hands in his pockets steering at the Surf Club parking lot like in the picture above.
Lou Cando December 21, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I used to go to ortley beaches until I finally got sick of the North Jersey Attitude Hey Get out a My Way on the roads.. people drinkin beer and smoking pot on the beach. the beach staff was nice and the fishin pretty good but the residents and visitors especially the Joey crowd they missed the beauty of the beach..which is still there... but the big attitude houses and every inch development got whooped I do empathise with all the loss that was taken but hopefully its future will be made by people ie contractors trying to make a living(not a fortune) and owners trying to enjoy the place instead of trying to make an impression.

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