Heights Begins to Tally Up Costs from Sandy

The borough is in the early stages of filing for reimbursement from FEMA for costs accrued during Hurricane Sandy mainly for debris clean up and emergency protective services.

Hasbrouck Heights is in the early stages of figuring out what Hurricane Sandy amounted to in dollars spent on clean-up and emergency protective services as preliminary work towards FEMA reimbursement is just getting underway.

Borough Administrator and Chief Financial Officer Mike Kronyak says the first step in applying for reimbursement began last week during meeting with the county Office of Emergency Management and a representative from FEMA. Now the borough is waiting for a FEMA rep to be assigned and from there they will begin the paper work process, he explained.

At this point there is not a set dollar amount applied to how much the borough can request in reimbursement, says Kronyak. The window of time for work on Sandy began on Oct. 26 with prep work and the clean-up period is still ongoing.

The borough has no structural damage to put in for reimbursement, it’s mainly for debris removal and emergency protective services. 

The borough will apply for reimbursement for the amount of overtime hours spent by its DPW workers for debris removal and the police department overtime for emergency protective services. Kronyak says there was 90 hours of overtime for the police department and 794 overtime hours for the DPW.

Police overtime was also spent on traffic control at borough gas stations when deliveries came in during the gas crisis the first two weeks following the storm.  

The DPW is still in the clean-up process removing stumps left behind by the trees the storms severe winds took down. Bill Spindler, DPW superintendent, previously reported about 90 trees fell due to Sandy. The debris pile down at the DPW yard is comparable to what was collected from the 2011 October snowstorm which had caused a great deal of tree damage throughout the borough.

Kronyak says the borough has plans to have the tree debris chipped and removed by Jersey Mulch Products at cost of $7,800. He says this would save the borough about $8,000 as it would cost the borough much more to haul it away on its own.

The borough had a rare mild winter at the start of this year with the least amount of overtime hours spent in several years however Kronyak said the borough always has to budget to cover costs for emergencies such as hurricane and Nor’Easter storms which occur in the non-winter months as the this year and even the last two years have shown.

Kronyak says applying for FEMA reimbursement due to an extreme weather event was something that used to occur once every few years but for the past few years the borough has had to apply at once a year.

Last year the borough put in for reimbursement for Hurrican Irene and the October snowstorm. The previous year it was for March Nor’Easter storm.  

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