By all accounts, Hurricane Sandy was an expensive storm, and the Town of Mamaroneck was no exception to this rule.
According to a preliminary financial report put together by Town Administrator Steve Altieri, the town has racked up $228,205 in superstorm-related expenses so far, with more to come.
“It has been a very expensive three weeks for the town, however, we have always urged the board to maintain surpluses in its various funds and certainly Hurricane Sandy is evidence of why this should be,” he said at last night’s board meeting.
Since Oct. 27, the town has spent $125K on overtime for employees; $67K in debris removal, with additional areas that have not yet been cleared; $10,800 in outside contractors for tree removal; $1,100 on outside fuel delivery and $18K in-house fuel and $5K in miscellaneous expenses including additional flares and tape to cordon off dangerous areas.
Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse the town for 75 percent of their storm-related expenses, these funds will take some time to reach the town’s coffers.
“The downside of this whole process is that it will probably take us at least 12-18 months to get the money back from FEMA. We are still receiving money from Hurricane Irene,” said Alteiri, referring to the August 2011 storm.
Although Governor Andrew Cuomo has made a plea to the White House for FEMA to reimburse New York State for 100 percent of expenses incurred, it is unknown whether his request will be granted.
Relief funds, for now, will be expensed in the 2013 budget being worked on currently by the board, and will come out of the town’s surplus. The deadline for the budget is Dec. 20 and a public hearing will be held Dec. 5.
“Even though we all have our power back and it seems like the storm is over, the finances and expenses of it and the clean-up of it continue,” said Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, continuing, “It’s the storm that keeps on giving.”
And, to put things in perspective, Altieri said, so far, the cost for debris removal has exceeded a normal year by 2-3 times the average.
Although the Highway and Sanitation Departments continue to collect storm debris, the town has requested that people put out their debris for pick-up no later than the end of the week so that leaf collection can begin.
The Town of Mamaroneck Board will be holding a public hearing for the 2013 preliminary budget at their next meeting on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. The budget vote will take place at the Dec. 19 meeting. The Town will also hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 for property tax cap legislation.