BRICK – The administration has a bit of good news for the victims of the August 13, 2018 flood. Caused when 8.5 inches of rain fell within two and a half hours, the flood affected 106 homes in the age-restricted Greenbriar community and other homes nearby.
“We had waived the township fees with regards to permits,” said Mayor John G. Ducey during the June 25 council meeting. “But that expired – you can only do that for a certain amount of time on, it expired March 31, 2019, so now we’re renewing it to go until September 1, 2019.”
The mayor said that many of the affected residents were still fighting with insurance companies for reimbursement so they hadn’t applied for permits before the March 31 cutoff.
“Also, there are some people who have outdoor work that needs to be done which obviously they weren’t doing in January and February when the ground was frozen, so those permits are coming in now,” Ducey said.
Some of the affected residents blamed the flood on the nearby recently-completed Garden State Parkway expansion and new interchange ramps at exit 91.
In the months following the flood, the county engineer announced that an outside engineer had been hired to find out what caused the flooding.
During the council meeting, Councilman Jim Fozman asked if the results of the study had come through yet. “I’m checking at every council meeting to see if anything has come in,” he said.
“The county has not given it to us,” Ducey replied. “They promised they would give it to us as soon as they get it, so I would check with the Freeholders. They’re going to get it first.”
In other news, Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said the total contract for the dredging management plan is $59,950 and the cost of the hydro survey – $34,990 – would be paid towards a dredging master plan that will help waterfront residents who have complained about shoaling.
“We met with the DOT office of maritime resources who manage the dredging for the state,” Bergin said. “We had been meeting with them to see if we could partner with them, if they would take it upon themselves to do some of the dredging that we need in town.”
The best case scenario is if the Department of Transportation would take some of the larger scale projects, since they won’t do smaller privately-owned lagoon areas since some lagoon-front homeowners have come to the administration asking for help, she said.
In order for the township to be in a better position to partner with the DOT as they mobilize dredge projects, both the dredge management plan and the hydro survey must be completed, Bergin said.
And finally, Township Attorney Kevin Starkey said he wanted to report on a lawsuit that had been filed by the former superintendent of schools Walter Uszenski against the township, Mayor Ducey, Joanne Bergin, the Board of Education and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office.
Uszenski is the former superintendent of schools who was accused of giving special services to his grandson in the district. He had sued the town, school district, and several individuals for wrongfully incriminating him. He recently entered into a court program to wipe his record, and have similar charges against his daughter dropped.
“We had a counsel appointed by the insurance company, Kevin Riordan, who did an excellent job and filed a motion to dismiss, which was to have the case thrown out,” Starkey explained.
On June 24, before that motion was even heard by the court, Uszenski and his attorney agreed to drop the lawsuit against the township, the mayor and Bergin, he said.
“There’s no payment, it’s simply being dismissed, which I think is the right result, given that the allegations were simply that Uszenski said the mayor was wrong, because the mayor reported suspicious activity to the prosecutor’s office, but I said it at the time and I’ll say it again: that’s the mayor’s obligation,” Starkey said (See The Brick Times September 18, 2018).
A related lawsuit filed by school employee Lorraine Morgan, Uszenski’s daughter, against the mayor, township and business administrator is in the process of being dismissed without payment.
“I’m pleased to report to the council just what I think is a very satisfactory outcome for lawsuits that frankly never should have been brought,” Starkey said.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday July 9 at 7 p.m.