CARTERET-As of Nov. 17, the borough’s Construction Department will waive any permit and inspection fees for hurricane-related storm damage to one and two family homes in Carteret, Mayor Dan Reiman and Council President Jorge Diaz announced.
Repairs and construction that are needed as a result of Hurricane Sandy will still require a permit and inspection, but related fees will be waived for homeowners. As of Nov. 20, 18 residents have benefited from the policy, for a total savings of approximately $3,000 to local homeowners.
Four houses in the borough were destroyed by natural gas fires, while at least six 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.
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 performed over 250 pump-outs for homes that underwent extreme flooding – a service that is also not commonly performed for residents in other localities.
Reiman said that waving inspection and permit fees for homeowners affected by the storm is an extension of other unique public services that have been introduced following other recent storms, and that a cornerstone of his administration has been to redefine the role of Carteret’s public services both in and beyond a state of emergency.
Following the Nor’easter that affected New Jersey in 2010, the Reiman administration allowed Carteret’s Parks and Public Works departments to assist residents with the removal of trees from their property. In most communities, public works departments are strictly responsible for the clearing of public streets and sidewalks following storms. Since then, Carteret’s policy has remained in effect – that Borough public service teams will offer these services directly to residents, according to a needs assessment and priority system, in the event that the Mayor declares a state of emergency.
“Our primary responsibility is to serve the community,” Reiman added. “While many are tightening their belts in lieu of today’s economy, the costs or delays involved with getting these services may be impractical for many residents. In many cases, damages to homes and the presence of downed trees may pose a range of concerns for our residents, or even safety concerns for the general public. During and immediately following states of emergency, we will use the town’s resources in the interest of safety and expediency, broadening Carteret’s definition of public service in the process.”
“We have been expanding the traditional functions of our public service departments both during and following storms,” Diaz said. “In the event that we experience weather that calls for a borough state of emergency, such as with Hurricane Sandy, we will extend a range of special services to residents and private property owners once our public areas have been attended to.”
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