Town Council passes resolution to fund storm clean-up
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Tue., Nov. 8, 2011
The East Hartford Town Council passed a resolution on Nov. 7 to appropriate $250,000 for costs related to the Oct. 29 snow storm that brought down tree limbs and left thousands of East Hartford residents in the dark for nearly a week.
According to information provided to council members by Finance Director Michael Walsh, storm clean-up costs will be as much as $750,000, though funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could cover or reimburse the town for approximately 75 percent of that cost.
Mayor Marcia Leclerc asked the council for a bid waiver for purchases or rentals of equipment related to cleanup, and that request was approved. The waiver will allow the town to by pass the bidding process and enable the town to move quickly to hire contractors and get the process started.
Rich Kehoe, Town Council majority leader, said snow plow operators, road-clearing crews and debris removal are just some of the costs incurred after the storm.
“In addition to that, we opened three shelters and there are costs associated with the operation of those shelters and the clean-up afterward,” Kehoe said.
The unusual Oct. 29 storm left 97 percent of town residents without electricity and heat for days, power finally being restored to most areas of town by Nov. 6.
Kehoe said the debris removal that will take place over the next month would require town public works crews to go on special runs in effort to move the tons branches and limbs homeowners are removing from their own yards and placing on the curbside.
"The problem is that it will take some time for many people to be able to cut up the tree limbs on their property. Some of these limbs that still attached to trees are of substantial size,” Kehoe added.
A new council will be seated following the election on Nov. 8. The current council is expected to hold an informal meeting to review the storm response. “I think we did a lot of things right, but it’s always important to talk about lessons learned so we can be even more ready the next time,” Kehoe said.