Facing reduced tax revenues, Shore towns ask N.J. for help with basic services

Some Jersey Shore towns struggling to clean up the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy are faced with another problem: how to deal with a loss of tax revenue.

Toms River business administrator Paul Shives says the storm damaged or destroyed homes representing 30 percent of the township’s assessed valuation.

“The first order of business, to us, is to implore the state to look at some type of financial assistance, and I’m not talking about for frills,” Shives said. “I’m talking about for basic daily services that we’re going to have to provide to our residents.”

Ocean County Freeholder John Bartlett says some towns on the barrier islands have lost half or more of their property tax base because of the damage to homes and businesses.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

While he expects people will eventually rebuild on the coastline, and its value will come back, he cautions that it will take considerable time.

“Will banks make loans to vulnerable areas? I don’t know. That’s a question. Will insurance companies insure homes in those areas? I don’t know,” he said Monday during a hearing before the state Senate Budget Committee in Toms River. “All of these are market driven considerations that will take some time to play out.”

In the meantime, Bartlett says hard-hit towns will need some temporary transitional aid from the state in order to operate and provide basic services such as police protection and trash collection.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal