Hurricane Sandy pummeled Berkeley Township over five weeks ago. But the reverberations from the historic storm will be felt for years to come.
Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. estimated the actual property damage to beaches, bulkheads, buildings, roads and the infrastructure at roughly $2.5 million.
But when you factor in cleanup costs - including employees, contractors, equipment, tipping fees at the Ocean County Landfill, gas, and police coverage, the number is much higher.
"We are still gathering information," Amato said today. "I will have harder numbers on Tuesday. All said and done, it might be close to $5 million to $6 million."
Berkeley should qualify for 75 percent reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he said.
"We will make sure we apply for every penny we can get back," Amato said.
The mayor's biggest concern is the hit to the township's ratable base.
"My conservative estimate is we will lose $300 million to $500 million in ratables," Amato said. " In dollar terms, $9 million to $10 million in tax revenue. That's would be for schools, county and township. Our loss for the township would be $2.5 million to $3 million in revenue."
He said he expects and encourages residents with storm damage to file for reassessments. They have until Jan. 10, 2013 to file for the reassessment. The form is available on the township website.
"Those who are granted reductions due to damage will see it reflected in their third quarter 2013 tax bill," Amato said. "The loss in ratables will be temporary - three to four years - once people repair and rebuild, the assessment will be readjusted."
The Township Council recently unanimously approved a resolution asking both the state and federal governments to make up the revenue loss and hold the township "harmless," the mayor said.