Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – While a bit unconventional, the third floor of the Ocean County Parking Garage is now reserved on Tuesdays for the weekly Sheriff's Foreclosure Sales conducted by the Ocean County Sheriff's Department.
"We had postponed all sales in order to meet the state's executive orders issued due to the coronavirus pandemic," said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy. "As restrictions began to be lifted, we began to create a plan that would provide an area to hold the sales and keep the staff and the people attending safe. We are the first in the state to resume this process."
On Tuesday, Oct. 6, 47 people gathered in seats that were socially distanced on the north side of the 3rd floor of the Ocean County Parking Garage on Hadley and Madison avenues, here, to participate in the sale.
The area is open to the outside on three sides, allowing for the sales to be conducted in the fresh air.
"Ocean County went through great lengths to insure the sales were conducted in a safe manner," Mastronardy said. "All the chairs were spaced six feet apart, faces masks were required, and also plastic shields were worn. Hand sanitizer was available.
"A public audio system was set up so that attendees could hear the proceedings from one end of the garage to the other," he said.
Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, noted that the new set up was the result of several Ocean County departments working together with the Sheriff's Office.
"Buildings and Grounds, Information Technology and Public Information all worked with the Sheriff and our Administrator to determine the best location and to get it set up so it all worked properly," Kelly said. "During these times, we are all learning how to do things a little differently in order to keep the public and our staff safe. We are learning to navigate the challenges brought to us by this pandemic."
Mastronardy said because the garage provides a large area open to the outside, it was determined it would be a suitable location for the sales.
The foreclosure sales, prior to COVID 19 were held in Room 119 of the Ocean County Administration Building, Hooper Avenue, here.
"I appreciate everyone's help in this matter in relocating the sales to the parking garage and I am grateful for a creative staff that proposed the idea and ultimately made it work," Mastronardy said.
Counsel Matt Thomson monitored the procedures while attending the sale to make certain any legal concerns about meeting state guidelines regarding COVID 19 were addressed.
The Ocean County Sheriff's Office will continue to conduct the Sheriff's sales in the parking garage for the next two weeks. The sales are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesdays.
Thirty sales had been scheduled for Oct. 7 and 12 sales were completed for a total value of $2.3 million.