Ocean Grove Opens Its New Boardwalk

Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Assoc, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Sen Jennifer Beck, Gov Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley cut the ribbon of Ocean Grove's rebuilt boardwalk

Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Assoc, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Sen Jennifer Beck, Gov Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley cut the ribbon of Ocean Grove’s rebuilt boardwalk

After being twice denied funding from FEMA before finally getting $2.4 million on their second appeal, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association re-opened their boardwalk to the public today with a ceremonial ribbon cutting lead by Governor Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Neptune Township Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley and Dr. Dale C. Whilden, President of the OGCMA.

“Today is truly a great day for Ocean Grove, Neptune Township, Monmouth County, and the Jersey Shore, and a critical step forward in our recovery from Sandy,” said Smith.”This boardwalk is an integral part of Ocean Grove the neighboring Jersey Shore community, a fact we reinforced during our efforts to reverse FEMA’s original decision at the local level—and yet another at the regional level—to deny critical funding.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Chris Smith, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Jennifer Beck, Neptune, Neptune Township, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Belmar’s Sandy debris removal costs questioned by federal auditors

Belmar’s Sandy debris removal costs questioned by federal auditors (via NJ.com)

Federal auditors are questioning more than $500,000 in Hurricane Sandy debris removal costs in Belmar, saying the town awarded two contracts that did not comply with federal rules and lacked paperwork to support other expenses. The Department of Homeland…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Belmar, FEMA, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

FEMA extends flood insurance filing deadline by 6 months

FEMA extends flood insurance filing deadline by 6 months (via NJ.com)

Homeowners filing flood insurance claims from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy now have more time to submit paperwork supporting their cases. The Federal Emergency Management Agency — which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program — is extending…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, Flooding, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Stronger than the storm?

New Jersey’s economy should be booming with reconstruction. It isn’t.

There should be hundreds of construction workers in Highlands, Union Beach, Sea Bright and other Sandy impacted communities every day.  They are not working and don’t look to be anytime soon.

Short changed by insurance companies/the National Flood Insurance Plan. Arduous applications for aid followed by red tape, bureaucratic incompetence and rules that halt rebuilding.  Expensive and time consuming zoning approvals to rebuild what was there before.  Pleas for help are answered with finger pointing between bureaucrats at different levels of government who are getting paid for their bullshit and going home every night.

“GO, GO, GO, REBUILD, you’ll get reimbursed,” we were told after the storm. We trusted our government. They lied.

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation(RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’ (via NJ.com)

MIDDLETOWN – Constituents have told Sen. Robert Menendez that the National Flood Insurance Program is feast or famine – high premiums feast on Jersey Shore residents, while low payouts force tough decisions on homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, FEMA, Middletown, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

As Sandy housing aid deadline nears, lawmakers request extension

As Sandy housing aid deadline nears, lawmakers request extension (via NJ.com)

Roughly 1,000 New Jersey households still displaced because of Hurricane Sandy rely on the federal government to help pay for temporary housing. But that program is scheduled to end on April 30. So U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker announced…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, FMERA, Fort Monmouth, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

House Passes ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’

Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.

“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said.  “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”

The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

FEMA Agrees to Levee Study that Could Ease Homeowners’ Flood Insurance Premiums

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Federal officials are taking steps which may help residents of the hard-hit neighborhood of North Middletown as they face potential flood insurance increases as a result of new flood maps expected to be unveiled this week.

 

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) said that as a result of congressional inquiry and meetings with local officials from Middletown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other state and federal agencies, FEMA has agreed to implement a comprehensive study and evaluation of the East Keansburg Levee system which FEMA had previously “de-certified” for flood protection, resulting in proposed steep flood insurance hikes for homeowners.  If the study recognizes the levee system as flood protection that may prevent devastating flooding as it did during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, it could lead to reduced risk assessment and lower insurance costs.

“Thousands of residents of North Middletown are looking at the very real possibility of their flood insurance premiums skyrocketing because FEMA no longer views some levee systems as adequate flood protection,” said Smith. “But as residents there know, for more than 40 years this neighborhood has been well served by a flood management system of levees, dunes, and pumps. This unique system has been effective since its installation in the 1970s. Even during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, when much of the coast was badly flooded, the roughly 1,400 homes in North Middletown remained protected. To omit an evaluation of this levy system and a substantive analysis of any form of protection it might offer would be unfair to the residents.”

 

Smith sent a letter to FEMA Region II chief Jerome Hatfield on November 8 requesting the agency do a study, to which Hatfield replied that FEMA did not at the time have adequate funding.

 

“We are thankful that FEMA has now identified funding to undertake this important study, particularly after correspondence in which Administrator Hatfield stated that FEMA was looking to explore this option and work together with local stakeholders,” said Smith.  “We hope this new study will enable FEMA to determine the effectiveness of the East Keansburg Levee system and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information as they conclude analysis of the region’s flood maps.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »