23 Aug 2014
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Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say

Township officials present storm report at Wednesday night's council meeting.

Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say Sandy Costs Jefferson $400K, Officials Say

Superstorm Sandy cost the township an estimated $400,000 worth of damage, according to a report presented by the Office of Emergency Management at the town council meeting Wednesday night.

OEM coordinator and Deputy Chief of Police William Craig, who presented the report, said officials are currently working with FEMA to get reimbursed for the expenses.

Mayor Russell Felter said the reimbursements will not be received for a while, and the expenses came out of the township's emergency appropriation fund.

This was the first time officials discussed the storm, after they agreed to hold off at the last meeting in early November because many residents were still recovering from the aftermath.

Craig, who was joined by OEM Deputy Coordinators Ed Mangold and Andrew Schmidt, thanked all of the volunteers for their efforts in the aftermath of the storm, and said it was an "overwhelming response."

He reported that between the OEM, CERT team, fire departments, Jefferson Rescue Squad, teachers, BOE staff, and township employees, a total of 7,333 hours were volunteered in the two weeks.

"I very was proud to be not only an employee of the township but also a resident of this township to see what type of volunteer response we had," he said.

The overtime for police in the two weeks after the storm cost an extra $68,858, and $149,142 for the DPW regular and overtime pay.

Craig also reported that the storm caused major structural damage on 26 homes, and minor damage on over 100 homes. There were nine cars were damaged from falling debris, he said.

He also said there were no injuries from the first responders, but there was one storm-related death. Bruce Latteri, 51, died the night of the storm when a tree crashed through his Nicole Court Home. 

Craig said the OEM sent out 34 instant alerts to residents, which they adopted after Irene last year. He said during the two weeks after the storm, 1,100 residents signed up, which brought the total to around 3,000.

One of the things the officials would like to improve on is to have a better deployment of township resources, he said.

Felter mentioned that officials are looking at adding sign boards to communicate with residents, particularly at A&P and Pathmark. He also said the schools are looking into buying a generator.

Felter thanked the three OEM members at the meeting, and said they went "above and beyond." He also praised all of the efforts from the township volunteers.

"I want to thank everybody who was involved," he said. "They did a great job, and it makes me proud to be mayor in a town like this."

Other council members, including council president Richard Yocum, council vice presient Debi Merz, councilman Michael Sanchelli, and coucilman Robert Birmingham thanked the OEM and all of the volunteers, and complimented the communication among officials, and the DPW's quick response in removing the trees and wires off the roads.

Felter presented a proclomation to the CERT members who attended the meeting, which included four adult CERT members and five teen members.

"These volunteers gave selflessly of themselves for the welfare of others," Felter read from the proclamation, "in many cases disrergarding their own personal losses so others were comforted."

CERT leader Linda Hamer, who said the teens made up the core group of the volunteers, said the experience dealing with Sandy taught the group a lot.

"No matter how much you prepare, there's always something you're not prepared for," she said. "We are just very humbled by the ability to help."

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