Officials Explain Tuckerton Beach Post-Sandy Repair Financing

Nov 18, 2015
Photo by: Pat Johnson Parker Road in Tuckerton Beach is closed to all but homeowners and is waiting for drainage improvements. Residents say they were promised a top coat of asphalt before winter.

Tuckerton Borough Council and the public on Monday sat through a presentation by New Jersey Future’s David Kutner and Leah Yasenchak, planners with the nonprofit organization that has partnered with both Tuckerton and neighboring Little Egg Harbor Township to help with post-Superstorm Sandy resiliency planning. The Merck Foundation was paying for their services for the past two years and funds were nearly depleted, but they found more funding from a new initiative, the Sustainable Coastal Communities Natural Shoreline Protection Grant, which will fund them through 2017.

New Jersey Future helped the two communities qualify for a $2.3 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant that will be shared to dredge Thompson Creek and lagoon areas at Tuckerton Beach and Osborn Island. The dredge material is to be used to bolster shore protection areas against storm surge.

In addition, New Jersey Future has developed sea level maps that show how much of the borough could be inundated during high tides and during a storm like Sandy if sea level rises 1½ feet by 2050, as predicted.

The maps were not to frighten the public but are to be used as a tool for preparing for the future, and should be considered in all future planning, said Kutner.

Tasks that New Jersey Future hopes to continue include steering meetings, pursuing National Flood Insurance Community Rating System ranking to help reduce flood insurance premiums, and looking at the coastal area and rethinking where growth could occur.

Much post-Sandy work has been done, and continues, in Tuckerton Beach. During the Nov. 16 meeting, the town council voted to approve bonding not to exceed $1,985,000 with the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to pay for sewer main repairs in the beach area. The council also approved bonding with NJEIT not to exceed $1 million for repairs to the water system and for painting and reconditioning the water tower.

The water tower will be painted with red, white and blue bands from top to bottom.

The increase in the water and sewer rates adopted this past year will pay for the bonding of the project, said Borough Administrator Jenny Gleghorn. “The NJEIT has also been known to forgive some loan amounts,” she stated.

Council President Sam Colangelo asked the council to approve an $188,547 change order to the Parker Road water and sewer project that was completed by Mathis Construction. Gleghorn said the additional funds were needed because the construction company had run into iron ductile pipe while excavating, and it was bolted to an underground wood housing, taking longer to excavate than was estimated. “The state allows them to bill for lost time,” she said. However, she also said changes to the overall scope of the entire $2.7 million water and sewer project may bring the cost down, so it would be a wash.

“We were going to run sewer (line) to connect Little Egg Harbor Boulevard to South Green Street, but it would have crossed a wetlands, and that’s tricky. So we decided against that. A portion of the South Green Street force main between Marlin and Dolphin needed fixing, so we did that instead,” she said. “The contract also included a skim coat of asphalt paving on Parker Road, and we are not going to do that now because we would have to dig it up again to do the stormwater drainage project. Parker also got a $350,000 NJDOT grant for drainage and paving. So that’s a rough estimate, and it could work itself out in the end.”

The council will be accepting bids for the drainage and resurfacing of Parker Road on Dec. 16, Gleghorn said.

The council approved on second reading four ordinances. One deals with unified electronic reporting to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for shops dealing in precious metals, and another for those dealing in scrap metal. An ordinance that changes some rules for towing companies doing business with the borough police and impounding lots for cars was passed. And an ordinance to refinance $4.9 million in USDA loans and NJEIT bonds was passed.

Gleghorn said the borough’s bond attorney has estimated a $405,341 savings to the borough when it refinances both the 2009 NJEIT bonds and the older USDA bonds. “Again, this was a preliminary assumption, and until the closing of the bond we adopted tonight, I will not have a definite number, but this is not a bad savings,” she explained in a post-meeting email to The SandPaper.

Nov. 28 will be a big day in the borough, said Mayor Sue Marshall. Tuckerton Seaport is holding a free community dinner from noon to 4 p.m. At 6 p.m. the borough will hold the annual tree lighting ceremony at Tip Seaman County Park, and this year there will be an honorarium for its founder, former Mayor Peg Jacobi, who died this year.

Later in the evening, around 7, the Lizzy Rose Music Room on Main Street is holding a concert of Christmas music. There is an admission charge, and seating is limited.

— Pat Johnson

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