In the hectic hours that followed Superstorm Sandy’s devastation of the area, residents of Mendham Borough were looking for information and guidance on where they could get warm, what roads were open and the status of the power restoration efforts on the borough website.
However, the site was not updated during the storm.
“The website wasn’t updated because we didn’t have the power or the manpower to update it,” Henry said at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Borough Mayor and Council.
Responding to that need, Henry said at last week’s meeting of the mayor and council that the borough had assigned extra hours to an employee already on the payroll who will be updating the site regularly.
“We understand now the need to get the information out and reach people’s smartphones,” Henry said.
Henry said that the borough website now has a new sections where residents can sign up for an e-mails list and that the borough will continue to expand their social media presence and research new information delivery systems in order to make sure they keep in touch with their residents.
Indeed the Mayor's Message on the front page of the site was updated with new information shortly after Thanksgiving and the scrolling banner on the top of the page trumpets the latest updates.
Henry also said on Nov. 5 he would like to see Town Hall open as “a place to get warm and charge up their phones and get information.”
Administrator Ellen Sandman said that despite the hazardous conditions after the storm, Town Hall was open for residents and she was there at her desk.
“It was dark and cold, but we were open,” Sandman said.
Sandman handed out her personal cell phone number to residents who came in for information and the staff did their best to provide residents with information the old fashioned analog way.
Whether or not Town Hall received a generator and becomes a warming station or not will be part of the upcoming meetings the borough plans to have to dissect the storm and the aftermath.
“In the coming weeks we are going to have meetings to discuss what we did right and we could do better,” Councilman Brad Badal said.
Mendham Borough resident Laurie Felber asked it the Garabrant Center could be set up as a shelter in the future.
“We owe a big thank you to the Sisters of Christian Charity for the warming center and I enjoyed taking a nice warm shower there,” Felber said. “But can Garabrant ever be used a warming center? This is a nice central location and with trees and lines down it could be a place people could walk to.”
Badal said that option would be “on the table” during the planning meeting.