Gov. Chris Christie is seeking $250 million in federal funds to purchase homes in flood-prone areas of New Jersey. The officials in towns where flooding occurs frequently are looking for some of that help.
South River Mayor John Krenzel, who said Superstorm Sandy caused major flooding in his town, says the river his town is named for produces floodwaters during even minor storms.
“The majority of the people who get flooded regularly, they want to go. They’re tired of it,” Krenzel said. “Irene came two years ago and now it’s Sandy — and Sandy was worse. The people can just not afford to keep repairing their homes.”
Because buyers would have to pay high flood-insurance premiums, Krenzel said, those property owners can’t sell their homes.
In a word, they’re stuck.
In Pequannock, township manager Dave Holberg has used local and federal funds over the past decade to buy out 23 homes repeatedly flooded by the Pompton River. Forty more buyouts are scheduled.
“The idea is to try to help people who are severely impacted and who really don’t have many other options because the values of their homes are so minimal at this point because of the flooding,” Holberg said. “The only way to really move them out of harm’s way is to buy their home and make it open space.”
If the state gets the funding the governor is requesting, Holberg said he hopes it will be used to purchase flood-prone properties around the state.