Sandy Costs 'Significantly Less' Than Irene
A generator and guaranteed fuel source could improve North Caldwell's response to future storms.
North Caldwell Department of Public Works Director Frank Zichelli told the council Tuesday night the borough will spend significantly less than the almost $300,000 total it spent after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
In the meantime, the council continues to wait for a $290,000 check from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Irene costs.
FEMA is expected to reimburse the town a minimum of 75% of Sandy expenses, Zichelli said.
Mayor Joseph Alessi asked residents to help keep costs down by bringing debris from the storm to the public works yard.
“I would strongly encourage anyone who could possibly get their branches here,” he said.
North Caldwell was one of the hardest hit towns in West Essex, losing one hundred percent of power after the Oct. 29 storm. Borough police responded to 200 more calls in October as compared to the same month in 2011. Schools left without electricity or heat remained closed for a week.
While the overall response to the storm was successful, borough officials echoed Tuesday, the extended power outages caused by the storm did expose some weaknesses, Councilman John Chiaia said.
Chiaia, chair of the public works committee, said two areas in particular need improvement. He said fuel shortages could have left borough vehicles incapacitated. Chiaia suggested the town explore creating its own fuel supply or finding a supplier who could guarantee fuel during a power outage.
The councilman also pointed out the possible need for a generator in order to provide residents with a warming center during future power outages.
“This storm was an eye-opener,” he said.