Sandy Response Bill Could Top $1 Million
Township officials set to meet with FEMA today
When township officials sit down with a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency later today they’ll be discussing how the town can be reimbursed for the approximately $1 million it has shelled out to combat the November storms.
Township Administrator Jeffry Bertrand said Wednesday the bills are still coming in and the exact cost of the response to Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’Easter that followed has not been finalized. But he said the cost, he believes, will be around the $1 million mark, or more.
Officials are scheduled to have a meeting with a FEMA representative this afternoon, Bertrand said. It is the first time the two will meet to go over exactly what the township needs to do to receive federal assistance to pay for the damage and cleanup from Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’Easter that followed.
But it’s a process, Bertrand said, that the township already has a jump-start on.
“Wall Township is pretty in tune with what needs to take place,’’ Bertrand said. “We have a picture of every downed tree in town, every truck that was used for anything -- those buses we used to block intersections, everything. It’s all well-documented.’’
Bertrand said there was no timeline for reimbursement from FEMA. The meeting planned for today was preliminary. And officials won’t know the exact number they’ll be asking for from the feds until all the bills have come in.
The township is still paying an outside contractor from North Jersey $1,400 a day to help clear the brush and downed trees from township roads. That’s expected to continue for several more days, at a cost between $80,000 to $100,000, Bertrand said.
The cost is up from an estimated $80,000 about two weeks ago.
The contractor, T. Farese Direct, of Newark, is augmenting the Public Works equipment and manpower while crews work to clear nearly 30-square miles of streets of heaps of brush.
The T. Farese bill will come in on top of the overtime bill from a Public Works department that has been working nearly non-stop since November to clear brush. Bertrand said the Public Works department has been working 12-hour shifts since the storms in early November. As of Thanksgiving Day, crews have had just three days off, Bertrand said.
That drew both praise and concern from members of the Township Committee.
“I think our DPW people have been doing a stellar job,’’ Committeeman George Newberry said. “I know they’ve been working an awful lot of hours and an awful lot of days and I’m concerned about that. I’m hoping its coming to an end soon.’’
Committeewoman Anne Marie Conte echoed Newberry’s statements, adding that she thought the DPW workers should receive some kind of additional recognition for their efforts.
Brush cleanup, according to the township’s estimates, should end by the end of the month. Crews are expected to enter the last remaining brush cleanup area -- northeast section of town nearest the Shark River, including the Camp Evans area and the Glendola Reservoir, according to the township’s brush cleanup map.