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BET Approves Payment for Sandy-Related Damage

Millions in appropriations approved for hurricane-related expenses which are eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

 

Hurricane Sandy cast an overwhelming shadow over the Board of Estimate and Taxation Tuesday night as it approved millions of dollars to pay for storm-related damage and other costs related to the late October storm.

The board unanimously approved $1.945 million for the Department of Public Works to cover overtime costs for personnel, the disposal of more than 4,400 tons of storm debris and repairs to town buildings.

The board also unanimously approved spending $200,000 for generators for the town's animal shelter on North Street and for the Holly Hill Transfer Station. The generators would allow continued operation of both facilities in post-storm situations. Because of Sandy-related damage to utility poles and wires, the transfer station was without power for 10 days.

In supporting documents accompanying the request, DPW officials wrote that a generator would provide power to operate the electronic weigh scale station and enable the town to charge appropriate fees for the disposal of storm debris.

BET member Jeffrey Ramer said the town would be better equiped to apply for FEMA reimbursements for future storm-related debris disposal if the town had the ability to provide accurate weights of the debris.

The board also approved the release of $785,810 of funds to help pay for repairs of Sandy-related damage to the town's infrastructure. Forty town buildings were damaged by the storm, officials said.

Greenwich Emergency Medical Service received approvals for two funding requests which will enable it to replace its King Street station which was damaged during Sandy.

The BET unanimously approved $100,000 for the demolition of the two-story brick structure at 1327 King St. Hurricane-force winds ripped tarps from the building's roof, allowing rain to pour into the building and further damage the already aging structure. Days after the storm, the town's building department condemned the building.

Approval also was given to a $47,111 request to buy and install a 12-foot by 60-foot trailer with three-bedrooms and other amenities to replace the GEMS King Street building. The appropriation also would cover landscaping to screen the trailer from neighboring properties as approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Until the trailer is installed, GEMS is maintaining its northwest station at Camp Seton, the Boy Scout camp on Riversville Road.

The police department received approval for its request of $155,272 to pay for overtime costs incurred from the hurricane.

Officials said that up to 83.7 percent of the costs are expected to be reimbursed by FEMA, with the town responsible for the remaining balance of the bills. BET Chairman Michael Mason said that prudent fiscal planning on the part of the town has put it in the position to assume payment of the unreimbursed storm expenses from the town's general fund.

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