During a tour of a flood-ravaged Sayreville neighborhood Wednesday morning, Governor Christie touched on something many North Jersey mayors have been lobbying for – funding to buy out flood-prone homes.
“What we’re trying to do [is] get some of the money to buy you out,” he told a resident of the Middlesex County town.
Cody Buck, a resident who showed officials how the back half of his home fell into his basement, suggested the neighborhood be turned into soccer fields.
“I think, governor, we need to level the whole neighborhood, give everybody a check and get out of here,” he said.
Buck said he had just rebuilt his entire house and put $8,000 into repairs to his basement after Tropical Storm Irene last year.
Before the storm started Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was in Hillsdale, a section of which is prone to flooding, to announce a transportation infrastructure grant.
Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz said at the event that he had asked the state to order the water company to lower Woodcliff Lake, to mitigate flooding. The governor made the order and there was no major flooding in the borough, parts of which were devastated by Tropical Storm Irene.
Arnowitz said the borough has been trying to buy out homes in flood-prone areas, but it’s costly. Hillsdale is in the process of finalizing two home purchases, he said.
“You have to see these people coming out of the flood zone,” he said Friday before the storm him. “I have so much empathy for them. I’d love to buy their homes out.”
Pequannock bought six homes near the Pompton River in 2008. New Milford and Fair Lawn have also purchased homes in low-lying areas.
And residents who haven’t bought out have approached public officials.
Some of the money comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but often the towns also have to come up with funds.
This article includes information from a pool report of Christie’s visit to Sayreville.