Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cost Of Digging Out Of The Snow

Ross has applied for $201,152 in reimbursement for the extra costs of cleaning up after February's snowstorms. But manager Wayne Rogers has only a general idea of how much the cleanup actually cost the township. "It took a week to clean up," Mr. Rogers said. "Information is still coming in. We had subcontractors out there doing stuff; some of them haven't even submitted the bills yet."

Penn Hills manager Mohammed Rayan is in a similar situation. His municipality applied for $156,747 in reimbursement but spent an undetermined amount more. "We're still looking at data," Mr. Rayan said. "The cleanup continued the entire week, and then some."

The problem those two officials - and others throughout the region - face in seeking disaster relief is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires towns to submit snow storm costs only from one 48-hour period. So despite having two storms dump nearly three feet of snow over a six-day period, managers could submit costs only from a single 48-hour time frame.

"We had two contractors in to help haul snow away, but they didn't come in until after the 48-hour period," Mt. Lebanon's Steve Feller said. "We also had one that helped remove trees."

Mr. Feller could have chosen a 48-hour period that included those contractors' costs, but he said that since the first storm happened on a weekend - Feb. 5-6 - the overtime costs for municipal crews made that the most costly two-day stretch. The municipality submitted $117,729 in costs for potential reimbursement.

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Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

While I tend to be a critic at times about our governance, I would like to go on record in applauding the Municipal government and scores of volunteers working tirelessly with our elected and appointed folks for the outstanding performance they provided us during the snowstorms and resulting emergency.

There were individuals...employees, some on justifiable overtime, many not receiving any compensation at all, plus many civic volunteers, especially our volunteer firefighters....who spent very long hours (I know of some who were on 19-hour shifts, and some volunteer firefighters on shifts up to 31-hours). People without power and/or heat were housed at the Rec. Center and the Municipal Building and fed as well. It was just an amazing story and a testement to the quality, spirit and dedication of people in this community when a crisis occurs.

And yes, there are unfortunate reports that some folks in their homes flooded the municipal phone lines with what my sniveling, picky complaints. And yes, the total cost of the emergency response might be something like $150,000 for which we may stand to qualify for only $117,000 in reimbursement; but, let me tell you this, I'll bet you my next Social Security check that the value of the services rendered us in volunteerism and dedication is incalculable. It is precisely what makes this town special

Go Lebo !

March 26, 2010 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Bob Reich, Jr. said...

It's not the federal government's job to be reimbursing municipalities for costs associated with giant snowstorms. It's not the federal government's job to do 80% of the things they are doing and funding. But maybe that's why we are trillions in debt as a nation and one phone call away from China from becoming a banana republic.

April 05, 2010 8:34 AM  

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