"I can't rebuild what we've replaced two times in 20 years."
That was the explanation Greenwich's Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Siciliano gave to the Board of Estimate and Taxation's Budget Committee Tuesday night of why it is now expected to cost nearly $1.8 million to replace the ferry dock at the town's premiere Island Beach.
The three-acre of island paradise in the middle of Long Island Sound was decimated by Hurricane Sandy in October—the shredded ferry dock resembled waterborne toothpicks, the concrete slab and wooden ferry landing were upturned and the island was buried in more than a foot of sand.
Originally, it was estimated repairs would total $1.3 million and the BET approved that as part of a $3.1 million interim appropriation repair package back in December. Now that engineers from the Roberge Associates Coastal Engineering firm have drawn design and engineering plans, the pricetag for repairs has increased by $477,000 to $1,777,000, Siciliano told the four-member budget committee.
The ferry dock was replaced about 20 years ago after a storm. Officials originally thought they would be able to modify those design plans to replace the dock destroyed by Sandy. Engineer Devin Santa described the dock destruction "looking like Godzilla was out there" and explained the need for stronger construction to withstand a 100-year storm. (Please see video.)
The committee unanimously approved placing the additional interim appropriation request on the BET's March 18 monthly meeting agenda. However, committee Chairman Joseph Pellegrino asked that Siciliano provide information on whether the additional costs will be reimbursed by the town's insurance and FEMA at the Monday meeting.
Previously, officials have said that most of the town's repair expenses would be covered by insurance and FEMA.
Making the case for the interim appropriation, Budget Director Roland Gieger said, "FEMA is not reimbursing homeowners in New Jersey for building it the way it was." He said the new homes must now comply with stricter federal codes in order to be eligible for reimbursement.
Siciliano said there is one state-approved contractor qualified to make the repairs, which he hopes will be completed within days of the planned mid-June opening of the beach.
Siciliano also notified the budget committee that repairs to the ferry dock at the town's Great Captain's Island also are expected to increase from $147,000 to about $250,000.