SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders has voted to provide the required local match for a program that will assist in buying out flood-prone properties in the Borough of Manville.
“Major storms such as Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Irene have continued to wreak havoc on residences in low-lying areas of Manville,” said Freeholder Mark Caliguire, county Open Space Advisory Committee liaison.
“At the county level we feel it’s our responsibility to help in whatever way we can, so we’re pleased to be able to cover the cost of the 10-percent local match that’s required in order for Manville to receive FEMA funding," he added..
"This current county program is especially important given the recent decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to snub Manville's request for flood control projects," Caliguire said.
Manville will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the acquisition of flood-prone properties that have sustained damages in prior flooding events qualifying them as either repetitive or severe repetitive losses.
Borough officials requested its required FEMA 10-percent local match from Somerset County through the county’s Municipal Flood Mitigation Funding Program for the borough’s purchase of the properties, which will be owned and managed by the borough.
Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh said Manville has requested up to $300,000 from the county program to be used as matching funds for the FEMA 2016 Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant.
“The Freeholders are glad to partner with Manville officials who are working proactively to provide a solution for residents who have been repeatedly hit by disastrous flooding,” she said.
The goal of the Municipal Flood Mitigation Funding Program, established by the Board of Freeholders in 2012, is to assist municipalities in the acquisition of residences that have experienced severe, repetitive flooding, or homes that have sustained substantial damage of greater than 50 percent.
The program is designed to encourage the preservation of multiple parcels in a flood-prone area and to avoid the preservation of random, disconnected properties within neighborhoods.
The applicant municipality must have applied for or received funding from FEMA or the NJ Blue Acres program. Funding through the county program will be determined by the Board of Freeholders and will be based on other funding approved or obtained.
The program is available to Somerset County municipalities only and not individual homeowners. Only privately owned, Somerset County residential properties will be considered.
All land acquired through this program must be permanently preserved as open space and all structures on properties acquired through the program must be demolished.