MIDDLETOWN, NJ –To ease the burden of storm clean-up, the Township Committee is waiving permit fees for residents who need to repair or replace equipment damaged as a result of Hurricane Irene.

“The effects of Hurricane Irene and its aftermath continue to be felt by many residents,”

said Mayor Anthony P. Fiore. “We need to give residents as many opportunities as possible to fast track restoration of their properties to pre-storm conditions.”

Fees will be waived for permits requested from August 29 through the close of business September 30 to repair and/or replace of service-related equipment such as water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, pumps, and service panels. Under normal circumstances, if a resident removes and replaces any of those items, there's a permit fee to cover the cost of a township inspector who determines if the replacement was installed to code. For more information contact the Building Department at 732-615-2104.

Meanwhile, the township’s emergency brush collection has been underway since September 7. The Township scheduled the collection due the volume of brush generated as a result of the storm. All brush should have been placed curbside by September 6. Residents are reminded not mix leaves with brush. Regularly scheduled leaf collection will occur in November, said Public Works Director Ted Maloney.

“I urge everyone to take advantage of all the government resources that have been made available to help residents recover from the Hurricane,” Fiore said. “Residents and business owners whose properties sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Irene should register with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance as soon as possible.”

A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) has been established in the Leonardo section of Middletown at the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center, 945 Route 36. The office will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice. Before visiting the DRC, residents and business owners who sustained losses should register by calling between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. daily to 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or for the speech or hearing impaired TTY 1-800-462-7585, online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov or www.fema.gov or via mobile phone application m.fema.gov.

FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

In addition, Monmouth County has opened an office at Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Road,  where residents can apply for a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefit if they experienced extensive material losses due to Hurricane Irene or subsequent flooding.

D-SNAP is a one-time food assistance benefits that can be used only for the purchase of certain food items. Individual and families not currently receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible.

Monmouth County will process D-SNAP subsidy applications from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20.