The Christie Administration today announced the disbursement of more than $22.5 million in Essential Services Grants to the Sandy-impacted local governments of Atlantic City, Toms River, and Sea Bright. The grants are helping these hard-hit communities avoid layoffs and maintain police and fire protection, public works programs, and other essential services as they continue to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy.
"Superstorm Sandy presented local governments with the challenge of recovering from the storm while facing difficult budget decisions," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, whose Department is administering many of the state's Sandy Recovery programs. "If not for these Essential Services Grants, critical services such as trash pickup and emergency response that people often take for granted would likely have been reduced significantly or eliminated entirely."
The $60 million Essential Services Grants program is one of the programs included in the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan and is funded through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery monies provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Of this total funding, $22,757,985 has been paid to date to local governments significantly affected by the storm.
The grants are designed to fill the gap between local governments' Sandy-generated revenue losses and financial assistance they've received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Community Disaster Loan program.
Toms River Township has received $14,416,859 in Essential Services Grant funds and is using the money to avoid layoffs of police officers, emergency dispatchers and the public works force assigned to duties such as garbage pickup. The township will receive the remaining $1,093,558 of its grant award at a later date.
Atlantic City has received its full grant award of $7,497,707 and is utilizing the funding to avoid the layoffs and furloughs of police officers.
Sea Bright is using the $843,418 it has received in grant money to avoid police layoffs and furloughs and maintain public works services such as garbage pickup. The borough will receive the remaining $231,582 of its grant award at a later date.
"We are pleased that Essential Services Grant funding is flowing into Toms River, Atlantic City and Sea Bright to aid their recovery efforts," continued Commissioner Constable. "Because these communities' insurance payments and FEMA assistance weren't enough to cover their significant needs, the Christie Administration has stepped in to ensure they have the resources to continue providing essential services until they can return to full strength."
In June, the Christie Administration announced the award of more than $44.5 million in Essential Services Grants to 11 Sandy-impacted local governmental entities in New Jersey that are experiencing budget distress. Aside from Atlantic City, Sea Bright and Toms River Township, grant recipients also include Asbury Park, Brigantine Board of Education (BOE), Keansburg BOE, Lavallette BOE, Little Egg Harbor BOE, Ocean County, Pinelands Regional BOE, and Toms River BOE. These local governments will begin to receive their Essential Services funds in the coming weeks.