By John Burton
SEA BRIGHT – The borough council has taken its first step to pay for its share of the beach replenishment project, slated to begin in November and continue through the winter.
The borough council introduced a bonding ordinance on Sept. 18 that will allow the council to borrow $1.2 million as the municipality’s obligation for the project. The bond will be used toward Sea Bright’s share of the approximately $19 million project. The bulk of the funding will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mayor Dina Long said.
“It’s moving forward as if all systems are go,” Long said earlier this week of the project. The council has to approve the measure and its notice of intent to meet the federal deadline, the mayor said.
The second reading and public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 during the council’s next meeting.
The responsibility for the project falls to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, operating as the lead agency, with the state Department of Environmental Protection managing it, said Richard Kachmar, borough administrator and clerk.
The corps will be responsible for overseeing the bidding and the hiring of dredgers, as well as all engineering aspects of the project.
“It’s pumping sand from a borough site in the Atlantic Ocean and onto the beaches,” was how Kachmar described the work to be done.
The project is going to add sand to beaches in both Monmouth Beach and portions of Sea Bright beaches, though it is unclear, at this point, how much of the borough’s total beachfront is going to addressed, Long said.
The plans for the project, which is a continuation of one begun in Monmouth Beach last year, call for completing the Monmouth Beach replenishment portion and then continuing north into Sea Bright, said Daniel Falt, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager.
How much of Sea Bright’s beachfront will be replenished will be as much “as the money allows,” he said.
The project could mean as much as 1 million cubic yards of sand for Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, Falt said.
Monmouth Beach commissioners are expected to introduce their own bonding ordinance at the Oct. 9 meeting, according to Mayor Susan Howard.
The amount of the bond is $421,575 with the commission using the $280,000 remaining from the previous portion of the project, Howard said.
In February, Sea Bright’s Long said U.S. Representative Frank Pallone Jr., D-NJ, had worked with the corps to secure the funding for the project.
Pallone’s 6th Congressional District includes Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach.
Pallone’s office issued a press statement at that time saying the project was intended to curtail beach erosion caused by storms that was placing area homes and businesses at risk.
“Hurricane Irene did some damage,” to the beaches when it hit a year ago, Kachmar acknowledged.
“Hopefully, they’ll get the project off the ground by November,” he said.
Other work will also be done on the Sea Bright beach with federal funds. In April, the borough was notified it would be receiving $1.37 million from FEMA through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. That money will be used to install a new bulkhead, repair existing bulkheads and help pay for a submersible stormwater pump for streets in the downtown area plagued by flooding during storms.