Atlantic County Eligible for Storm Damage Assistance

Atlantic County will host representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a meeting on May 24 with local emergency management coordinators, municipal fiscal officers, engineers and public works officials to address public assistance for damages from the April 15, 2007 northeast storm that caused severe flooding along the banks of the Great Egg Harbor and Mullica rivers. The meeting will be held at the Atlantic County Canale Training Center in Egg Harbor Township.

According to county officials, the meeting?s primary focus will be to outline procedures for local government agencies to recover expenditures for eligible costs generated by the storm event. Atlantic County was verbally notified on May 18 that it is eligible for federal assistance.

“This is the first step in the process of receiving reimbursement for costs incurred for damages,” explained County Executive Dennis Levinson. “This meeting will instruct county and municipal officials how to proceed. It is not intended to identify new projects, but rather to provide compensation for current repairs.”

Levinson added that the county will work to facilitate the process. “We are the intermediary agency. Hopefully we can positively affect the flow of information and resources.”

For more information, please contact Vince Jones, Director, Atlantic County Office of Emergency Preparedness, at (609) 497-6742.

Atlantic County Meets with Municipalities to Discuss Shared Services

Atlantic County officials will meet with representatives from each of the county?s 23 municipalities to discuss potential areas in which shared services could be implemented to save taxpayers money and reduce duplication of services. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 23 at the Anthony “Tony” Canale Training Center, 5033 English Creek Avenue, Egg Harbor Township at 6 PM.

“For several years we have initiated interlocal or shared services agreements for snow removal, street sweeping, road improvements and purchasing agreements, among others. We are now looking to expand upon those ideas for even greater efficiency and cost effectiveness,” stated County Executive Dennis Levinson. “Sharing services requires communities to relinquish some control in favor of saving money and reducing the burden of local property taxes.”

The county obtained a $123,400 grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in 2006 to help initiate or increase shared services programs. Shortly thereafter it hired former Egg Harbor City Mayor James McGeary and former freeholder and State Assemblyman Tom Foley to administer the grant. The two lead by example in sharing a $40,000 annual salary.

Further examples of existing shared services include the implementation of a countywide emergency communications system, a regional animal shelter, construction of a regional emergency services training center, police training pistol range and procurement of an emergency mobile command vehicle.

“This is the first of what we hope will be several meetings to identify services and select committees to move these concepts forward,” said Tom Foley. “We are excited about the challenge and welcome new ideas and suggestions.”

The meeting will also feature Rick Dovey, President of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, and John Lamey, Executive Director of the Atlantic County Improvement Authority who will share their agency?s experiences.

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