One-half of the local costs for a beach replenishment project along the northern barrier island will be paid by Ocean County, said John P. Kelly, Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners.
Ocean County will contribute about $4 million for the effort to restore ocean beaches from Berkeley Township north to Point Pleasant Beach.
That is just a portion of the estimated $60 million cost of the project, slated to begin early next year.
The Army Corps of Engineers will pay $30 million, with the remaining $30 million bore by the state and local municipalities.
The county agreed to help the towns pay their share, splitting the $8 million local cost that otherwise would have been paid for only by the nine municipalities, Kelly said.
“We received a call from the local mayors and they asked us to help,” Kelly said.
The county responded by hosting a meeting earlier this week with county officials and municipal leaders from Berkeley Township, Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Toms River Township, Lavallette, Brick Township, Mantoloking, Bay Head, Point Pleasant Beach and Point Pleasant Borough.
While Point Pleasant Borough has no oceanfront property and is not part of the replenishment effort, borough leaders felt it was important to attend the session to support their neighboring communities, Kelly said.
Commissioner Deputy Director Virginia E. “Ginny” Haines said the beaches suffered severe erosion following several coastal storms that battered the coastline in recent years, including a major storm late last winter.
“The beaches and dunes are vital to the protection of our towns and our residents,” Haines said. “The Board of Commissioners felt it was right to step in and help our communities bare this cost.”
Kelly said many of the county’s smaller coastal communities have limited budgets and this cost would have otherwise strained their budgets.
“There was an immediate consensus among the commissioners that we needed to help,” he said.
This project is the first major beach replenishment scheduled by the Army Corps of Engineers along the northern barrier island since it completed repairing and strengthening beaches in the years following Super Storm Sandy.
The following towns will receive financial aid from the county:
• Bay Head: $714,000.00
• Berkeley Township: $159,000.00
• Brick Township: $450,000.00
• Lavallette: $336,500.00
• Mantoloking: $645,000.00
• Point Pleasant Beach: $135,500.00
• Toms River Township: $975,000.00
• Seaside Heights: $375,000.00
• Seaside Park: $191,000.00