After last week's announcement that Eatontown will receive just more than $1.5 million from FEMA Hurricane Sandy-related cleanup costs, borough officials are now saying they received too much
"FEMA says Eatontown is getting $1.5 million as a result of the storm damage that we experienced," Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said during Wednesday night's council meeting. "That's nowhere near where we had calculated it."
"I don't know if we are too efficient for our own good, but our efforts are not going to cost us anywhere near $2 million," Borough Administrator George Jackson said. "Our rough estimates right now are under $1 million and that's including lots of other reimbursements for straight time, salaries of our police and public works, vehicle usage, running our generators and litany of other items that qualify for reimbursement."
Jackson said the money given to towns was based on anticipated cubic yards of debris that towns were expected to remove.
"That number, even though it would be great to have it coming in, would be put in our coffers and then we would still have to justify the documentation on why we are entitled," Jackson said. "We reached out to our (FEMA representative) and discussed with him that we feel our number is much lower and that we have a good handle on where we are and they are going to amend the number."
"We would sit on the money and have to refund it anyway," he added.
Tarantolo said the borough actually declined some services from FEMA with the belief that those duties would be better handled by its own departments.
"When you look at FEMA money, you have to understand that 75 percent is coming from the federal government, but 25 percent must be expended by the municipality," Tarantolo said. "That 25 percent could have an impact on tax rate or surplus."
"We threw around those ideas of having those outside sources, but we unanimously felt that we were better served to do it in-house and not incur those extra costs," Jackson added.