Sandy recovery still slow for some in Toms River - 6at4

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - November 26, 2012

But for some in the hardest hit areas, normal is very much a work in progress.

Danny Martin of the Breezy Point section of Toms River is one of at least 5,000 township residents displaced by the storm, and he still doesn't know how long it will take for him to recover from Sandy.

"I don't know if I ever will," Martin told Action News. "Like I'm probably going to take a $200,000 hit and at 65 that's quite a chunk of your savings."

Martin is an example of what many storm victims are facing. Their problems were outlined for lawmakers at a special hearing where local officials told legislators 30% of the town's assessed property has been wiped from the books and they need help.

"The first order of business is to implore the state to look at some type of financial assistance," said Paul Shives, the township business administrator. "I'm not talking about for frills, I'm talking about for basic daily services."

Officials are also asking the state to come up with a uniform policy on determining the assessed value of damaged homes, and recommending the Army Corps of Engineers design a coordinated plan to rebuild and save eroded beaches.

"Tourism is a $38 billion industry for the state. That is the economic engine that drives this area," said Councilwoman Maria Maruca."The 2 key things are getting residents back into their homes and get our tourism industry rebuilt."

So the cleanup continues, hauling garbage out of flooded homes, pulling soaked insulation from dark crawlspaces saturated by ocean and bay water.

"Mold will always come back after the fact so you want to make sure anything that holds dampened is taken out," said Tony Sposita, a volunteer who's been helping residents clean up.

With 9,000 properties affected in Toms River alone, officials are clear that the rebuilding process will take years and require lots of help from the state.

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