Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman has announced that the Carteret Office of Emergency Management and Department of Engineering have issued a preliminary report assessing the damages from Hurricane Sandy to public and private property in Carteret at $53.1 million.
Mayor Reiman had declared a state of emergency in the Borough, where a near-record storm surge and severe winds compromised public safety and disrupted transportation, calling for the closing of several roads and limiting access to public facilities, food, and emergency services. Power was lost throughout the Borough’s jurisdiction, with extensive flooding and downed wires, while PSE&G has yet to restore power to certain areas as of November 9th.
The heaviest damages to municipal property took place at the Borough’s Public Works building and Waterfront Park, where the storm surge produced up to 10 feet of flooding. The boat-launch, pier, miniature golf course, fencing and walkways at Waterfront Park took severe damage, while flooding at the Public Works building damaged municipal vehicles including 4 police cars, machinery, and office equipment, and has impeded operations for the duration of the ongoing recovery period.
Other damaged public resources include Carteret Park, Civic Center Park, the Carteret Public Library, and the Borough Recreation Building. Total damages to public areas and facilities have been estimated at $7.1 million.
Four houses in the Borough were destroyed by natural gas fires, while at least 6 were structurally compromised, beyond habitability, by either flooding or downed trees. A total of 200 homes were seriously damaged, along with approximately 10 apartments, 20 businesses, and 4 industrial facilities, for an estimated total of $46 million.
In 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reimbursed Carteret $82,000 for emergency service and damage costs related to the Nor’easter of March-April 2010. In 2012 the Borough received $762,526 for damages related to Hurricane Irene. In the coming weeks the Borough expects to file for at least $53.1 million in damages, resources, and man-hours that were produced as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Among the greatest costs to the Borough has been the resources and staffing required to clear downed trees and debris from public areas and streets. An estimated 71.78 tons of downed trees and vegetation was removed from Carteret’s public areas and streets following Hurricane Irene – the corresponding numbers for Hurricane Sandy are expected to be much greater.
Carteret’s emergency service departments played a significant role during the storm, opening roadways, restoring utilities, performing “swift water rescues” from stranded vehicles, and transporting residents with storm-related injuries to local shelters and regional medical facilities. The Carteret Fire Department has also reported that it performed over 250 pump-outs for homes that underwent extreme flooding.
Mayor Reiman said, “We recognize all of our emergency service workers who demonstrated their skill and experience during Sandy, as well as their commitment to a safer Carteret. Combatting the storm and the recovery period would not have gone so well were it not for the dedication of those who comprise our emergency and public services departments.”
Mayor Reiman has also recognized the many volunteers and donations that have made the Borough’s recovery period easier for residents. Over 150 volunteers from both within and beyond Carteret offered their time to assist with local Emergency Shelters as well as parks cleanup. Thousands of dollars in donations has been made to Carteret’s Hurricane Relief Fund, along with food and water, and 200 bags of clothing. At its peak, Carteret’s Emergency Shelter provided housing and food to over 160 residents.
“The concern of residents and neighbors who have donated their own time and resources has made it readily apparent how much Carteret and its residents mean to folks from throughout New Jersey,” Mayor Reiman added. “It has been nothing short of heart-warming.”