The Mantoloking Borough council on Monday awarded a $1.6 million contract to a Tinton Falls-based company to perform a large-scale demolition project in town.
Council President Steve Gillingham said the contract was awarded to Mazza & Sons Demolition, the lowest bidder out of more than 30 submitted.
The contract left room for the borough to retroactively award the bid to the second-highest bidder if the company is unable to carry out the job, which will include the demolition of about 40 homes borough-wide. Mantoloking will be the first municipality in the state to carry out the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Private Property Debris Removal, or PPDR, program.
"It's a substantial amount of money, but we've documented everything we need to do," said Chris Nelson, the borough's special counsel for storm recovery.
Nelson said the borough will be reimbursed 75 percent of the cost of the demolition project by FEMA, and residents' home insurance policies will recover the remaining portion. The borough will bear the cost of demolishing any homes that were not insured.
Some of the 40 homeowners who signed up for the program could be rejected before the project begins, however, Nelson said. In order to be eligible, each property must undergo an on-site review with a FEMA employee, and the structure itself must be at risk of collapsing – wholly or partially – or must post a safety hazard.
"FEMA and the Borough of Mantoloking are not going to come and knock down your house because you want to start fresh," said Nelson. "It has to be unsafe."
Nelson said the project will likely take about 45 days to be completed, meaning all of the homes requiring demolition could be down in early June.
Not every resident whose home needs to be demolished is participating in the PPDR program, however.
For those residents who are participating, Nelson said the borough will post a demolition schedule either address-by-address or on a "sector" basis.
Neighboring Brick and Toms River townships have also elected to participate in the PPDR program.
Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis last week said his town is still gathering a list of property owners who wish to participate.
In Mantoloking, where a major breach split Ocean County's northern barrier island in two, officials have set aside a total of $7.1 million for cleanup efforts. Gillingham said storm sewers and inlets will be cleaned this week, and represent the last major pieces of infrastructure that are still filled with sand.