Bay Head, NJ eyeing new borough hall after Sandy

August 9, 2013 7:17:10 PM PDT
Bay Head Mayor Bill Curtis gave Action News a tour Friday of the old borough hall on Bridge Avenue.

It is empty except for hundreds of boxes of records now being stored in the darkened, torn-up rooms.

Municipal operations were forced out of the building after 4 to 5 feet of water flooded the offices during Sandy. Ten months later there appears to be no hope of returning.

"It's not worth salvaging," said Curtis. "It's too damaged, it's been sitting too long. The mold has gone all the way through this."

After working for months in a trailer, municipal offices are now located in a building down the street.

"Once we got settled in here, everything kind of fell into place," said municipal clerk Patty Applegate. "Calmed down a lot."

But there's still some confusion. Not everyone knows that the old borough building is closed.

"I have to come pay the taxes," said resident Lisa Miele. "And I went to that building, and it was closed, and I had to go find this office. Not that it was so far away, but things are changing."

And with no space available in the borough, Bay Head Police have had to move out of town. They've set up shop in a building in nearby Point Pleasant.

"We have no cell to hold our prisoners," said Bay Head Police Sergeant Bill Hoffman. "We have no processing area for fingerprints. Our fingerprint machine was lost in the flood."

Director of Emergency Management Kelley Jean Mickle was asked if it's strange not being in town. "Yeah, it's a little strange," came the reply. "People will come in and they'll say, 'Where are you?' Here we are!'"

Despite being displaced, police and municipal services are continuing without interruption. The borough paid $60,000 to have all of its soaked records freeze dried and restored.

But the mayor says it's time to think about a new borough hall.

Officials are hoping that insurance and FEMA will cover the estimated $2.5 million cost of rebuilding. The taxpayers will pick up the tab for the rest.


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