I am sure that no one will forget the Macroburst/Tornado event that struck New Fairfield and several surrounding Connecticut towns on May 15, 2018. The storm damage created much hardship for many of our residents.
Pat Del Monaco and the Board of Selectmen have been working with our Public Works Employees and outside vendors to assist with the massive cleanup of town roads and the storm debris that many of us cleared from our property and deposited for pickup. That debris cleanup project concluded August 26, 2018 and the numbers to date are as follow:
74 thousand cubic yards of storm debris have been cleared from public roads
12 thousand cubic yards of storm debris from private roads.
Combined, all of this converted to 24 thousand cubic yards of chipped debris deposited at the monitored drop off center.
The costs for this cleanup were projected to be around $3.5 million dollars, which included about $250K in storm costs not related to the cleanup (damage, over-time, etc.). The funds for this project were allocated from the General Fund. The good news is that our actual expenses will come in under the budgeted $3.5 million, by approximately $1 million. Furthermore, the President signed a Major Disaster Declaration on August 20 which provides for up to 70% reimbursement on eligible expenses. New Fairfield will initiate the FEMA application process at an introductory meeting for municipal officials on September 12. Any surplus funds and/or FEMA reimbursement monies will be returned to the New Fairfield General Fund.
Assistance for individual property owners was denied by FEMA on August 24. Along with other municipal, state and congressional officials, Ms. Del Monaco submitted a letter to Governor Malloy urging him to appeal this decision. The Governor formally appealed the decision August 30, 2018.
With our new appreciation for the power and fury of “Mother Nature”, we are currently in the Hurricane Season and have the Winter Months on our horizon. The town will continue to be on the lookout for damaged or structurally compromised trees along public roads and remove them before more damage can be done. If anyone is aware of damaged or structurally compromised tress along town roads, please notify the Board of Selectmen via email at NFstormdamage@newfairfield.org.
Many thanks to the Board of Selectmen, Public Works, and Town Employees for their efforts, as well as the many Town residents who helped document the storm damage and augment the Town FEMA application. I would also like to note and thank the countless Town residents who pulled together privately to help their neighbors during this difficult time.
– Brian Shea, Board of Finance