Belmar Defends Ashbritt,Releases Documents
So just how did the state award a contract to Florida-based Ashbritt Inc. for Superstorm Sandy debris cleanup?
It's a question that has raised eyebrows around the state and has also caught the attention of State Senate President Steve Sweeney. Yesterday, Governor Christie came out in full force saying that everything about the Ashbritt contract was done correctly - and was not awarded without competitive bidding, as some of his critics have charged.
In Belmar, Mayor Matt Doherty has ordered all documents related to the cleanup of Sandy, released on their web site. Doherty doesn't believe it was a political game like some are alleging.
Doherty says "The destruction leveled upon our town by Hurricane Sandy was immense and devastating, we could not allow politics to stand in the way of our clean up efforts."
Doherty, like other officials in the borough, are convinced that without the help of Ashbritt and the subcontractors they hired to do the work, they wouldn't be in the process of rebuilding their boardwalk - which was virtually wiped out thanks to the storm.
Doherty adds "without the help of the company, our town would have suffered even longer power outages and more extensive damage to homes, streets and public infrastructure."
Belmar engaged multiple contractors in the wake of the storm to haul debris, remove dangerous trees, pump flooded streets and clean sand to return it to the beach. In all, over 20,000 tons of storm debris has been hauled out and over 111,000 cubic yards of sand have been cleaned and returned to the beach (111,000 cubic yards is roughly equivalent to 4,700 truck-loads of sand).
All documents pertaining to these critical functions are available on the Belmar website and include emergency purchase resolutions, contracts, invoices and purchase orders.
Initial FEMA estimates of the debris clearing operation in Belmar topped $5 million dollars with final costs expected to exceed $6 million.