CREST HAVEN - Freeholders passed a resolution Feb. 25, supporting an increase in state funding for shore protection.
The Shore Protection Fund, established in 1992, is funded by the state Realty Transfer Fee, and has not been raised since 1999, according to the resolution.
The fund provides money that lets the state and municipalities "engage in cost-share partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers" for shore protection, including beach restoration and maintenance.
Prime sponsors for similar bills, in both houses, are Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-2nd) and Sen. Sean Kean (R-21st).
The resolution notes the "devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy" that made it "evident that the current funding to the Shore Protection Fund is inadequate" for allowing funding of necessary projects.
The board believes the proposal to hike the fund "is essential to protecting the shorelines of Cape May County and that of every other shore community..."
"The realty transfer fee is imposed on the recording of deeds transferring real property and is calculated on the basis of the amount paid in the deed. The basic rate is $1.75 for each $500 of consideration, of which $0.50 is retained by the county and $1.25 is the State share. Currently, the first $25 million of the State share collected annually is credited to the Shore Protection Fund."
Cape May County Release:
The County of Cape May passed a resolution on Tuesday supporting an increase in State funding for the "Shore Protection Fund," from $25 million to $50 million. There is a bill in the Assembly and Senate that would increase that allotment.
The Shore Protection Fund provides important funding that allows the State and Municipalities to engage in cost-share partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on shore protection projects including beach restoration and maintenance.
“We have to support our communities and provide the necessary resources to protect themselves,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson. “We have families that live in beach-front communities up and down the coasts, along with thousands of businesses. The State should do more to help them.”
The Shore Protection Fund is funded by the State Realty Transfer Fee, and it is currently capped at $25 million, an amount that has not been adjusted since 1999. The pending bills A-639 and S-1071, would increase the cap on funding for the Shore Protection Fund to $50 million.
“This fund hasn’t seen an adjustment since before people were worried about Y2K,” said Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “Costs for projects increase over time and if your funding doesn’t match those increases you will be doing fewer projects. We need to do more to protect our shore communities throughout the State of New Jersey.”
The Resolution passed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders notes the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy has made it clear that the current funding formula is not adequate to allow the State and towns to fund recovery projects. The resolution passed on a 4-0 vote with Freeholder Vice-Director Len Desiderio absent from the meeting.