Mayor: Shore towns should build beach erosion costs into town budgets
Rain and flooding at the Jersey Shore continue to cause beach erosion along the shoreline. One beach town mayor says funding for repairs should be built into the town’s budget.
"Last winter, we probably had 10 to 11-foot cliffs, so you couldn’t get onto the beach in certain areas",” says Toms River Mayor Mo Hill.
Hill says you can’t beat the elements, but you can replace what they take away.
Shore towns have seen the deterioration of local beaches due to erosion from storms. The dunes at Ortley Beach took a beating after the most recent storm. Tropical storm Ophelia tore away at the dunes resulting in two-to-four-foot drops and not much beach left in some spots.
Peter Crandall has lived in Ortley Beach since the 1970s and says he's seen years of changes.
"The beach has certainly been less than good in the last couple of years, and it impacts on the number of people who show up,” Crandall says.
Mayor Hill says he wants to protect the homes in this area as well as the beach. His term as mayor ends at the end of this year. At a recent township council meeting, he proposed the township budget for beach replenishment.
"We haven’t budgeted for it, but we’ve been fortunate not to have a lot of snowfall. We do have a snow emergency fund and we’ve been using those funds,” Hill says. “That’s been ongoing for the last couple of years I would recommend going forward that in the future that we just build it into the budget because it’s going to happen.”
Part of the responsibility for beach replenishment lands on the Army Corps. project that is still bidding. Work could start in the spring. The mild winters have given Toms River a leg up this year and the last two years.
Mark Policelli lives in Toms River. He says the township should budget for the repairs
"It makes sense to put money aside for this kind of thing this is all we have such a beautiful resource,” he says.
Beach replenishment can cost anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000 to repair.