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Sandy Costs Estimated at $700K-Plus in Ridgewood

Vast majority expected to be paid for by FEMA, Village Manager Ken Gabbert reports.

The hurricane that ripped through Ridgewood last week was far more devastating than last years' mega-storms, but likely won't cost the village much cash.

"This was by far the largest-scale event that we've had to respond to on the public safety side in recent memory," Ridgewood OEM Coordinator Jeremy Kleiman told the council.

There were approximately 700 distinct incidents reported in Ridgewood through Hurricane Sandy, according to Kleiman. That rough figure tops both of last year's big weather events – 'Snowtober' and Hurricane Irene – by about 150 and 100 incidents, respectively.

According to Kleiman, within the first 72 hours of Sandy, 115 roads were closed, 285 trees had fallen, 240 wires were reported as down, 5 transformers had blown, 7 buildings had collapsed, 14 trees had fallen into houses, and a gas leak was reported.

Despite the damage, the costs shouldn't be as devastating as they were last year.

"The estimate of cost at this point – and it's just an estimate – is probably going to be 40 percent of what the storm was last year," Village Manager Ken Gabbert said, referring largely to Hurricane Irene, in which a sewer line was destroyed. "We're looking at in excess of $700,000 that we'll be attributing to this storm by the completion of our efforts."

The manager said the village would likely pay a minimal sum of money out of pocket. The council will have to pass an emergency declaration to authorize cleanup cost payments. If so, the hits won't affect this year's budget. Next year's budget will take a hit, however.

"The early word we have is that the direct power-related expenses will be 100 percent claimable to FEMA," Gabbert said. "Everything else is at a 75-25 split (meaning the village could potentially pay up to 25 percent of other costs). So we'll have a good claim at the end of the day."

The village is hardly out of even the storm at this point. About 1,900 homes were still without power Wednesday evening and Athena, a Nor'easter, was dumping snow and whipping heavy wind gusts at vulnerable trees and infrastructure.

Don't expect the cleanup work to be fully complete for quite some time, Gabbert warned. It could take months to safely cut up all the village trees that peppered neighborhoods.

"These were massive trees," he said.

Mark Stevens November 08, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Where does FEMA get their money? Is it “magic” money? How many FEMA programs have there been this year? How much money did FEMA give out this year? Again I ask, where does FEMA get their money? Wake up people.
RdgwdGRock November 08, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Gabbert warned. "It could take months to safely cut up all the village trees that peppered neighborhoods. These were massive trees" Wow, Gabby is a real genius for stating the obvious. Massive trees??? Safely cut up? No, how about we send crews around to unsafely cut up trees. Let's start with the teeny tiny trees. How 'bout Gabby fund from his pocket the unrecovered expenses?
Rebecca November 08, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Also, I figure this may be a good forum to ask this question: What is the protocol with removing fallen trees that have been cut up and moved out of the road and onto a person's property? Does the property owner now pay to have removed? Or do we wait for the village to clear? In our case it was an across the street neighbor's tree, not a village tree, that fell and was cleared into our yard. Anyone have specific info? Thanks!!

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