Nearly a year after he visited the heavily scarred areas surrounding the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook in Ridgewood, State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-40) will be returning Tuesday to observe the progress of flood mitigation efforts.
At 4 p.m., the senator will be at the Burnside Place residence of Leslie Cimino, whose home was inundated with nearly five feet of water after last year's devastating Hurricane Irene.
Local officials sought the assistance of O'Toole last year in helping remove the bureaucratic roadblocks to clear the craggy, sandbar-filled Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. O'Toole also pushed for an action plan to reduce the damage of flooding, the status of which he'll be evaluating Tuesday.
With some help from O'Toole in receiving DEP permits this spring, work recently began to remove sandbars along both bodies of water.
But it's not all smooth sailing.
The village council in July . The lowest received qualified bid was $120,000 more than what was dedicated to the project, so it's possible the work performed will not as great in scope as officials had initially hoped.
"What we will have to do is very carefully is monitor the length of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and the Saddle River work zones that we've identified so that none get slighted," Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said in July. "In some areas we may have to reduce some of the volume of debris removed to reduce the costs to meet the award."
According to Rutishauser, spare turning the bottom of the waterways into concrete and a major effort to stop blacktopping the earth with development, flooding is here to stay.
Still, O'Toole says steps must be taken to help residents who have lost possessions and significant money due to flood waters.
"We cannot have a repeat of Hurricane Irene," the senator said in a news release Monday. "Whatever we can do on the state level to assist in diminishing the affects of flooding on our residents, I will make sure gets done."
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