Verona Township Manager Joe Martin released the costs of Hurricane Sandy at last night’s Town Council meeting and they held an unwelcome surprise: This year’s Halloween storm was more expensive than the freak snowstorm of the previous year.
Martin said the town has identified roughly $675,000 in eligible costs, which it will present to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The town ran up an unanticipated $105,000 in police overtime during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy because it had to deploy so many officers to control lines at town gas stations. It also ran up substantial costs to run the town’s wastewater treatment plant on a generator during the long days of power outages. “Luckily, this year gasoline is an eligible reimbursement,” Martin said after the meeting. “Last year it wasn’t.” Martin’s storm cost estimates include damage sustained by the public schools.
Verona has filed paperwork for reimbursement of all Hurricane Sandy costs from FEMA, but Martin conceded that the town was likely to only get back three-fourths of what it had spent.
But as of now, Verona has only gotten $297,000 in reimbursement for the 2011 Halloween weekend snowstorm, which cost Verona $600,000. Martin said today that he anticipates that Verona will get another $50,000 from FEMA for the snowstorm before this year ends, and hopefully more in the coming year. But he conceded that, given the demands on FEMA from Hurricane Sandy, he has no idea how long the reimbursement will take.
Martin said last night that Verona was trying to maximize its storm reimbursement by emphasizing those expenditures that FEMA was most likely to acknowledge, like the diesel fuel for the treatment plant generators.
Verona once again has strived to cover as much of the hurricane costs out of its current operating budget as possible. But the council passed a resolution for an emergency appropriation of $350,000 on Monday night that will be raised from the 2013 budget. The emergency appropriation for the 2011 storm was $382,000, which came out of the 2012 budget.