Highlands Town Hall Meeting – Feb 25th 8PM


town hall signMonday Night 8pm at Henry Hudson Regional High school.  This will be the 3rd Town Hall Meeting since the storm. I’m hoping this time there are some concrete answers on a few things.  Like:

– What is up with lifting your house, how are residents supposed to pay for this when a) insurance money doesn’t pay for things upfront, b) FEMA grants can take years to come to fruition c) putting your house back together can drain existing savings

– What are alternative plans to mitigate flooding besides back filling the town? We should have a plan “b”, “c”, “d” and “e”

– How are people getting notified on what resources are available to them?  I’ve personally spoken to people that didn’t know anything about the “resident needs form“, didn’t know anything about the hope for highlands grant etc. Highlands as a town needs to get the word out about different things that are available and make sure people are taking advantage of things.

– What is the game plan to get the town back together beyond the house lifting thing, what we doing to help the businesses, attract people back to town, the Post Office, the community center/recreation center etc?

– What are the stipulations on the FEMA grants? Is anyone eligible that got a ICC letter? I’ve spoken to FEMA people that said you can use your own contractor and spoken to others who were told that they had to use “approved” contractors and couldn’t lift their homes until the FEMA grants were approved. Which seems counterproductive, does the town expect people to be displaced for years until the grants are approved?

16 comments

  1. Hey HB,

    I totally agree…enough time has passed not to have some sort of game plan. I think your ideas were definitely smart and do-able. I would even say build a Sea Wall wide enough to walk perhaps benches on them to chill or if in certain areas long enough to take nice bike ride. Can be recreational also? Pumps better drainage on hwy 36 and in town all should be no brainer to do. Also think Mule1 had forward thinking idea on how to grow business and commerce with selling renewable energy and not just count on Bay Avenue business. Particularly if homes begin to be abandoned or off shore? Town should approach some of these state along energy companies regarding these programs investing in town. As i mentioned I do think we need a better long term solution thats not backfilling as far as rising seas and I do think if representatives from Seabright to Hoboken. NYC, Staten Island, Queens should join forces in getting a project like the Outer Harbor Gateway project in the works. If other countries throughout the world can protect their shorelines that are integral to our economy we should be able to get done. There is enough money between NY & NJ to invest in both states future and will cost more to all if they don’t. I ‘m still not home and confused about everything if it wasn’t for you HB wouldn’t be aware a lot of things so thanks:) RS

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    • SB – Thanks for the kind words 🙂 We’re all in this together. We can pull through this, not unscathed of course, we’ll all have plenty of scars, bruising, bumps etc. but we can pull through.

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    • Yes, many thanks from me as well.

      I’m going to have to miss tomorrow’s meeting — my car needs a new clutch on top of everything else and is in the shop this week. So now way of getting down there for the festivities.

      Looking forward to your update and hoping there are some actual solutions this time. Probably shouldn’t hold my breath on that one though.

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  2. Here’s one idea….take the money you did receive from your insurance settlemen to pay for the raising of the house and use that to pay for the lifting of the house. Personally, I did not know FEMA takes years to pay people….my only experience with them began in October and I’ve already received a few checks from them. Granted, not for the ICC claim, but I guess everybody who has lived here for the past 100 years has more experienced with them than me.

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    • P.S.

      Last time around, I received atleast two emails and about two phone calls regarding the last town hall meeting – and usually I’m the one complaining about the lack of advanced noticed on any local events!

      But I’ll bet all of those people know exactly when the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled!

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    • I personally *did* receive an email, however the phone calls are spotty, sometimes I do receive them sometimes I don’t. The last two times I haven’t. For the storm itself and evacuating, I didn’t receive a phone call, but I did for the first meeting they had up at the elementary school. I’m not sure exactly how that works and why it doesn’t always work.

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    • According to the T&M guy in the last town hall meeting, he was still working on getting the 10 people who flooded in Irene paid. He thought he could get them the money “soon”. That was only 10 people and Irene was a year and a half ago. You do the math on that one.

      Regarding using the structure insurance money to lift your house is an option, but you still have to come up with the money to put it back together. i.e. drywall, floors, appliances etc. Also the average insurance claim in Jersey is netting about $38k, which is still less than whats needed to raise a small to medium size bungalow.

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    • Really? It’s only costing me $25K and I got $113K without the ICC and any money I might get from the second claim the public adjuster submitted.

      Now I might run out of money when it comes time for the appliances, but it ain’t costing me anywhere near $38K to raise the house.

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    • And P.S…..if you go strictly by the government standards – they tell me my house is at 11 1/2 feet and they say I only need to raise it
      2 1/2….except I had 5 feet of water in the house! Fortunately, I found a contractor with enough sense to raise the house higher than the minimum height.

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  3. So I just e-mail from Highlands which I never received before sounds like same old same old.
    Message from Borough of Highlands There is a Mayors Town Hall meeting tonight 8pm at Henry Hudson Regional High School 1 Grand Tour Highlands. There will be guest speakers from FEMA, Americorp and SBA

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  4. BB if you can get the lift, the new foundation, the stairs and all the plumbing, electrical etc done for no where near $38k, then please share from who and costs. I’ve spoken with 3 firms – and though the “lift of the house” itself was in the $12 – 16k range, the whole job soup to nuts was close to $60k.

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    • Hey…don’t get me wrong….the whole house is costing me a lot more than $38K, but I’m just talking about the lifting of the house.
      I went down one day to the “Highlands Solution Center” (believe it or not) and Paul gave me a list of a half dozen contractors from the area. I called every single one of them and only one guy called me back right away and we met that afternoon. I eventually met with two other guys just to get estimates and I’m still waiting to hear back from them. In the meantime, I went with the first guy and he has been nothing, but professional and dependable. In fact, I don’t think I’ve called him once since because he’s so good about keeping me in the loop.

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  5. Hope for Highlands grant money ran out of money (gave away $100,000). Any applications received now are on a wait list. I told my mom not to count on it and she said she could probably list the 100 people who got the money. The Boro knows the owner occupied homes and which properties were significantly damaged. Do you really think anyone has spent less than $1,000 to date on repairs? I know complaining about it won’t do any good; unless, those funds are diverted to an organization who can better handle distributing the funds. Just a thought.

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    • I think I like your mom… I haven’t even lived here that long and I’m pretty sure I could name a good percentage of the recipients. I never got around to sending anything in for that (snail mail? really?), but I also figured that there are people who could use $1000 a whole lot more than I could.

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