The costs incurred by the town of Clinton for Tropical Storm Irene are estimated at $1.45 million of which approximately $1.02 million will be reimbursed by the Federal government.
The selectmen approved the costs and sent the request to the Board of Finance (with the exception of Selectman Carol Walter who abstained from the vote). The Board of Finance will meet in early January. If they approve the expenditure, it will go to a Town Meeting.
As the Director of Public Works Peter Neff explained, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires that the town meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for reimbursement. The town engaged the services of the Maguire Group to monitor the recovery efforts from Irene and to assure that the town met all the FEMA requirements in order to receive funds to help offset the recovery effort.
"The most significant costs were the removal, reduction and disposal of green vegetative matter (trees, brush, leaves, etc.)," said Neff.
Removed were 25,626 cubic yards of green waste; 81 trees, 2,259 hanging branches from trees; and 27 tree stumps.
The cost to clean up the town in the 24 to 48 hours following the August 28 storm including overtime, emergency tree service and emergency debris removal was about $56,000.
To make repairs to town facilities and infrastructure, the costs were about $79,000. This included repairs to the town docks, ramps, bulkheads, harbors, walkways, gazebo, bridges and roads.
For the removal of debris (organic such as trees and limbs not building materials) the costs were about $460,000. The town hired local contractors such as Finkledey-BMJ Services, American Waste and Recycling, Grove Gardens, Stevens Excavating, Hammonasset Construction, D.D. Heser, Schumack Construction, New England Road Incorporated, D.D. Construction and Old Colony Construction to perform grinding services and to remove debris at town facilities and on town roads. These costs included management and administrative services.
In addition, the town hired three crews from CAHABA, specialized tree surgeons from Alabama, to clear the town roads (77 miles) of hanging limbs, leaning trees, stumps and dangerous trees. They also performed the same services at all town facilities. The cost for this service, which was per FEMA bid specifications, was $612,000. No local bids came in for this work.
FEMA requires that all crews in the field and at the dump sites are monitored.
The town hired the Maguire Group to perform all administrative services including developing bid specifications, supervising the bidding procedure, monitoring three clearing crews for four weeks (six to seven days a week), inspecting and approving all dump sites, documenting the process, and compiling submittals for state roads and submitting the project to FEMA. The costs for these services was $195,000.
Miscellaneous costs of about $8,000 included items such as guard rail repairs, informational signs, clearing catch basins, food for community meals, and removing bulky waste from the Shore Road and town marina areas.
In addition, there is an open $40,000 contingency item for projects not yet completed.
In total, the costs are approximately $1.45 million. FEMA reimburses up to 75 percent of 90 percent of total costs ($1.3 million) for an approximate reimbursement to the town of $1.02 million.
As Neff explained, "the town faced a monumental cleanup following the devastation of Hurricane Irene. It was clear that the town forces were not designed to handle the needed work and would require additional resources."
"There was a huge amount of paperwork and monitoring which was beyond the capability of the town and the Department of Public Works," said Neff. "That's why we hired a consultant and their fees are reimbursable."
Selectman Carol Walter said the amount was "colossal" and said she was told on September 28 that the costs were going to be $500,000.
"Westbrook's entire cost was $300,000 and Madison's was $250,000," said Walter.
Neff explained that in order to be reimbursed, the town had to adhere to FEMA regulations.
"If you don't want to bring in FEMA, you will end up paying more," said Neff.
Selectman John Giannotti said he thought the town did a great job.
"I don't want to compare us to Westbrook or Madison because they didn't do anything," said Giannotti.
Neff said it was a choice: get it all done right away with a 75 percent reimbursement, or pay for it and do it on your own over the next two years.
Patch will bring you details of the Board of Finance meeting when that happens.