Seaside Heights Mayor Sets Record Straight [AUDIO]
From demolition notices to rumors about when the gas will be turned back on, the mayor of Seaside Heights wants to set the record straight.
First, residents dealt with price gouging from a company that was the town's only authorized towing company, APK Towing of Toms River.
"I wish I could comment on that investigation, but right now its in the Ocean County Prosecutor's office hands and the state Attorney General is also investigating, it's unfortunate that residents had to deal with that on the back of this storm," said Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.
Residents Find Notices on Damaged Homes
Some residents who were recently allowed back over to check on their homes then discovered orange notices stating that their properties were structurally unsafe. The notices said they had until November 30th before their homes would be demolished. If they did not fix their homes, they could also get hit with a $2,000 fine per week.
"I had a construction officer come down and he saw about twenty properties or so that were structurally unsafe, and you could tell right away...walls are missing, the house is off its foundation, things like that where it is not safe to be in and he had to give a time frame for repairs, but that is just way too soon," said Akers.
Since then, Akers has asked the construction officer for an extension, which was granted.
"I had asked him, with all of this going on, would you be kind enough to change the date to December 30th, 2012, and he did that.
Residents need to understand, they don't need to have all the repairs done now, they just need to come out with an inspector or an engineer and shore up their properties. Safety is the main concern and we don't want someone getting injured because a home is unsafe."
Main Gas Line Will be Back Up in Dec.
Another rumor is that it will take between six and nine months to get natural gas turned back on in town.
"New Jersey Natural Gas never said that, I never said that...we will have the main line up and running by the end of December and hopefully by the end of January all residents will have that utility back up again, as long as there are not any problems that arise in that time span."
Akers said in just a few weeks they have made big progress in town.
"All roads are passable, all the electric poles are back up with the exception of a few, we are getting by with the wastewater treatment plant we have right now, the south side of town has electric service, we are working hard day by day...and its a crawl, walk, run process, but we are getting there."
What Will Happen to the Boardwalk?
One of the biggest concerns for next summer is how will the boardwalk look, and Akers said there are also plans in place for that.
"We are doing all the debris removal now, we are going to have specifications put together for the rebuilding of the boardwalk, which we hope to have by the December 5th council meeting, which I hope to have actually in Seaside Heights this time. We will see."