Council Approves $127K for Storm Response, Cleanup
Lawrence Township Council authorized the “emergency appropriation” at its meeting last week, but it is anticipated some of the township’s storm-related costs will be eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Among the 30 resolutions approved by Lawrence Township Council at its meeting last week (Nov. 8) was one authorizing an “emergency appropriation” of $127,500 to cover costs incurred as a result of the township’s response to Hurricane Sandy and its subsequent cleanup of storm debris.
The bulk of the money - $82,500 – will be used to pay for debris removal and disposal, while $25,000 will be used to cover the cost of police department overtime and the remaining $20,000 will go toward public works department overtime.
“We know that there will be some additional costs, but in order to make certain that we could cover certain expenses that are known that will be coming in we wanted to increase those appropriations where necessary,” Township Manager Richard Krawczun explained after the meeting.
With scores of trees throughout the township having been toppled by Hurricane Sandy, disposal of the storm debris has been particularly costly, Krawczun said.
In anticipation of the start of the township’s fall leaf collection, the ecological center on Princeton Pike was already near its capacity for yard waste prior to the hurricane, he explained. As a result, the township has had to pay an outside company for the disposal of much of the debris generated by Sandy.
According to the resolution (a copy of which can be found in the media box above), the “emergency appropriation shall be provided for in full in the 2013 budget.” But with Mercer County included in President Obama’s disaster declaration for New Jersey, it is anticipated that some of the township’s storm-related costs will be eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to Krawczun.
Later in the meeting, Krawczun took time to publicly thank the many municipal workers and volunteers who helped keep the township safe before, during and after the hurricane. He also thanked residents for their patience while the township worked with the utility companies and state Department of Transportation to restore electrical service, clear debris and reopen roadways.
He recognized Lawrence Township Public Schools Superintendent Crystal Edwards, Business Administrator Tom Eldridge and School Board President Laura Waters for opening Lawrence High School for several days to serve as a “comfort station” where township residents who were left without power by the storm could go somewhere to get warm, have a meal, take a hot shower, and charge up their cell phones.
Also recognized were Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Oakley, Police Chief Daniel Posluszny, Public Works Director Greg Whitehead, Recreation Superintendent Steve Groeger, Health Officer Carol Chamberlain, Fire Marshal Dale Robbins, Construction Official Anthony Ceremele, Fire Subcode Official Richard Soltis, Township Clerk Kathy Norcia, Nurse Kathy Korwin, and Emergency Medical Service Chief Chrissie Vincent.
Krawczun also thanked Slackwood Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Mike Oakley, Lawrence Road Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Shaun Dlabik, and Lawrenceville Volunteer Fire Chief Gary Wasko and the volunteer firefighters of the respective fire companies for their efforts, particularly the evacuations of three apartment and condominium buildings whose emergency lighting, fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems were rendered inoperable by the loss of power.
“The fire companies assisted with the evacuation of three senior housing complexes. And that was no small undertaking, as far as time and the manpower that it took to get the seniors out, in one case, from a four-story building with no lights, leading people down the stairways with flashlights. That was a tremendous effort, and that was done by our volunteers,” he said. “So my hat is off, not only to Chief Oakley, Chief Dlabik and Chief Wasko, but to the individual firefighters who participated and put in some very, very long hours on a volunteer basis.
“My assistant, Yvette Martinette, drove the school bus to get the seniors around. So it was a tremendous effort,” he added.
“It wasn’t just during the storm – it was preparation before the storm, response during, and the recovery after. And I think that we were very fortunate in Lawrence Township. I know some of us were inconvenienced for an extended period of time, but I think, when we put that in perspective with some of the other things we have seen nearby in New York and other places in New Jersey, we were very lucky.”
- Nov. 4: "Lawrence Firefighters Respond to Assist Ocean County"
- Nov. 2: "Lawrence Township's Friday Post-Hurricane Update"
- Nov. 2: "Despite Hurricane, Police Still Have Crimes to Solve"
- Nov. 1: “Missed LTPS School Days To Be Made Up Next Week, SATs Postponed Until Nov. 17”
- Nov. 1: “Notre Dame Cancels School Friday, Reschedules SATs”
- Nov. 1: “Lawrence Township's Thursday Post-Hurricane Update”
- Nov. 1: “Preliminary Mercer Damage Estimate: Over $2.5 Million”
- Oct. 31: “Power-Loss Safety Concerns Prompt Evacuations”
- Oct. 30: "Storm Cleanup Effort Underway in Lawrence Township"
- Oct. 30: "Photo Gallery: Lawrence Township & Hurricane Sandy"
- Oct. 30: "Lawrence Township: What's Going On With Sandy?"
- Oct. 29: "Stay Off the Roads, Mercer County Executive Urges"
- Oct. 29: "Mercer County Residents Urged to 'Shelter in Place'"
- Oct. 28: “Mercer County Braces for Storm”
- Oct. 28: “No Unauthorized Travel Allowed After 6 Tonight as Lawrence Township Declares State of Emergency”
- Oct. 27: “Lawrence Township Braces for Hurricane Sandy”
- Oct. 27: “'Limited' State of Emergency Declared in Mercer County”
- Oct. 26: “Mercer County Mobilizes Resources in Advance of Sandy”
- Oct. 26: “County Executive Urges Residents to Prepare for Sandy”