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Ortley Beach Versus The Mayor

Residents of Ortley Beach are bristling mad at comments made by Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher. 

Damage from Sandy in Ortley Beach
Damage from Sandy in Ortley Beach (Township of Toms River)

He was quoted by Bloomberg News that he’s annoyed with residents complaining about the slow recovery.  “I am so annoyed with people over there,” he said in a phone interview “We still have a couple of hundred houses we have to knock down. We had three feet of sand in every street.” He also blamed 400 sinkholes created by Sandy and slow restoration of utilities for delaying recovery.

Kelaher posted on the township web site that he is sympathetic to everyone but their gripes are unfounded.

“What I said in the Bloomberg article was that ‘I was annoyed about some of the complaints from the ‘Monday Morning Quarterbacks’ who accuse the Township of having done nothing at all to alleviate the conditions created by the storm,” wrote Kelaher. “These types of complaints are absolutely unfounded. In fact, since Sandy hit, the town has not yet stopped addressing the storm-related problems and we will continue to do so.”

He said the Township made sure the 3rd Avenue parking lot was repaved by Memorial Day and leased mobile bathrooms so a portion of the beach could reopen. Kelaher also noted 400 truckloads of sand brought in to rebuild dunes.

Residents promise to be in town hall for tonight’s meeting. They tell the Asbury Park Press that Kelaher has not made many visits to Ortley Beach since the storm and venting their frustration with comments posted on the Ortley Strong Facebook page. “The way he “clarified” his statement was to claim he was mis-understood and then point to issues that were NOT what offended people,” posted Michael Capo.

Others called for Ortley to break away from Toms River and accused the mayor of backpedaling.

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