Nearly a year since Superstorm Sandy, many township residents are still in a financial limbo, waiting for the state to release funds to rebuild or move on.
And township officials are getting tired of waiting.
"People are still waiting for a second round for $10,000," Township Council President James J. Byrnes said at the Sept. 24 council meeting.
He referred to the Resettlement Grant Program, which awarded $10,000 to homeowners whose homes were substantially damaged by Sandy. The deadline to apply for the resettlement grant program and the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) programs was Aug. 1.
The first round of checks for the resettlement program have already been issued. The final round has not yet been distributed.
"Why the hell's there going to be a second round?" Byrnes said. "Write the checks."
Byrnes spoke in response to Berkeley Township Taxpayers Coalition President Samuel J. Cammarato and Berkeley Board of Education President James Fulcomer's warnings that the township's ratable base would suffer if more federal funds aren't released soon.
"There's a lot of people out there that are hurting," said Cammarato, who has been out of his Teakwood Drive home since Sandy hit. "We need to put pressure on the DCA to release this money."
Township Council members agreed. They unanimously passed a resolution calling on the state Department of Community Affairs to release the money.
The state's Disaster Recovery Action plan calls for the DCA to administer more than $1.8 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds. Of that amount, $600 million was set allocated for the RREM program and $180 million for the resettlement program, according to the DCA's website.
The first round of funding for the RREM program was completed this summer. Municipal officials from around the state are hopeful that a second round will be distributed this fall.
Come back to Berkeley Patch later today for more on this story.