TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey shore towns hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy want extra financial help
from the state as they struggle with rebuilding costs and property values.

The state Senate Budget Committee invited mayors and emergency management officials to testify Monday in Toms River about their storm-recovery needs. The hearing is the first of several that will focus on helping residents recover.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“I think now, the issues that we’re dealing with is, number 1: recovery — trying to get people back into their homes,” said Jersey City’s Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Greg Kierce. “We’re dealing with a lot of issues where folks were not required to have flood insurance and therefore are not covered under regular insurance.”

Toms River municipal administrator Paul Shives said his town needs three to five years of extra state aid to help it rebuild from the storm, which may have wiped a third of the township’s property value off the books.

Many officials said more also needs to be done to protect shore areas from future storms.

“Whether it be sea walls or barriers or something like that, that’s something that has to be moved to the forefront,” said Kierce, who is among those testifying Monday. “As we see with climate changes, the impact of these storms coming more and more frequently and the intensity is a lot worse as each storm comes in.”

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said his city is already working a new, stronger boardwalk that is set to be built by Memorial Day next year.

“Our engineers have already designed a new and improved boardwalk that would have withstood Sandy along with a sea wall that would have mitigated the significant flooding that occurred,” he said.

Democrats who lead the Legislature have pledged bipartisan cooperation with Republican Gov. Chris Christie on storm-related issues. The superstorm is expected to financially strain hard-hit towns and hurt state and local bottom lines because of lost tax revenue.

Also testifying are the mayors of Toms River, Brick Township, Moonachie and Union Beach as well as Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Col. Joseph Fuentes and other local, county and state officials.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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