Gov. Chris Christie is defending a $100 million contract with a Florida company for debris cleanup after Superstorm Sandy.

Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature are concerned about the costs AshBritt Inc. charges to remove and dump the waste.

Christie says towns don't have to use the company to clean up the debris the storm left behind.

"If they want to remove the debris themselves, they can," he said Tuesday. "But the risk is ... if you don't use one of these companies who are experienced in dealing with FEMA paperwork and the FEMA bureaucracy, that if you don't make the requests right, you're not going to get reimbursed."

Christie disputes that it was a no-bid contract as state Sen. Barbara Buono, his Democratic gubernatorial challenger, contends.

A cooperative agreement with Connecticut allows New Jersey to execute a contract based on a competitive bid agreement that state made with AshBritt in 2010, Christie said.

"There's no difference between Connecticut's bidding process in the main and ours that would have given us a better deal than what Connecticut got," Christie said. "We looked for a similar state with long coastline and with a dense population. They got a good deal from AshBritt in their bidding process, and we took advantage of it."