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Heights Works With FEMA on Sandy Reimbursement

The October superstorm left hundreds without power for more than a week and had uprooted trees all over the borough.

The process of determining what the costs of Superstorm Sandy amounted to in dollars is underway as the borough is now working with FEMA in the hopes of receiving some reimbursement.

At the end of October, the superstorm ripped through the area uprooting about 90 whole trees, tearing down power lines leaving hundreds without heat and electricity, closing downs schools and businesses for more than a week and also caused an alarming demand for gasoline in the initial aftermath of the storm.

Filing claims with FEMA has become almost a common practice the past few years as the borough has put in claims one to two times a year due to extreme weather events. Hurricane Irene and the October snowtorm were two major events of 2011 Hasbrouck Heights claimed with FEMA over the past year.

Typically the borough is eligible to receive about 75 percent reimbursement for costs accrued during extreme weather events, explained Mike Kronyak, borough administrator and CFO.

Each claim is unique to that particular weather event. In the case of Sandy, the borough is filing a claim for the number of overtime hours spent by DPW, emergency personnel, debris removal as it has with past FEMA claims. It is also able to include the use of generators which at the Borough Hall was running for 144 hours and the public safety building generator ran for about 50, according to Kronyak.

Borough Hall was without power from Oct. 29 until Nov. 4 and had used the generator to keep as much of the complex running as possible, opening the senior center as a charging and warming station.

Kronyak says for this storm the borough may be eligible for reimbursement towards fire department apparatus use as well as straight time hours for its emergency personnel and DPW.

In addition the hours spent by the police department controlling traffic on Route 17 when the gas stations received deliveries or first opened may also be eligible for reimbursement, he explained.

There is no dollar amount attached to what the storm cost the borough overall, but it will be determined as the process continues over the next few months, he explained.

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