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Ocean County Waits for FEMA Money [AUDIO]

You have probably heard that old saying “the check is in the mail,” right? Well, for Ocean County waiting for that Superstorm Sandy relief money, their patience is growing rather thin.

Ortley Beach, NJ
Residents of Ortley Beach, NJ watch their home get demolished (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Just where is it? Sandy’s one year anniversary is rapidly approaching, so why would it take this long for the reimbursements to come in?

The Ocean County Freeholders and officials want an answer.

After the storm, over $100 million was laid out for debris removal and cleanup. They were originally promised a 75 percent reimbursement and it was later changed to 90 percent. Regardless, of the total, only about $30 million has been paid back.

County Administrator Carl Block says it’s very frustrating.

“When the first round of funds came in to Trenton, we had a check in hand within 48 hours,” Block explained. “Now we have been waiting months and months and nothing. All of our calls to FEMA have been vague. They claim it’s still being processed.”

Recently, Ocean County sent additional paperwork to them to try and move the process along, but nothing came out of that.

With the government shutdown and the threat of the nation defaulting on debt, is the county worried about the money they’re owed?

“No, because the money has been specially set aside for the purpose of Sandy relief. We are just waiting and it’s difficult to do so,” Block said.

So far, Block has reached out to the state and they are getting cooperation from Governor Christie’s office.

We tried to reach FEMA for a comment all day on Tuesday, but were constantly stonewalled. Several phone calls went unreturned and e-mail correspondence, although pleasant, went back and fourth with no resolution.

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