Montclair is bracing to pay out more than $400,000 for overtime and cleanup costs associated with Hurricane Sandy, according to early estimates.
Montclair Police, Fire and Public Works departments were heavily taxed in the aftermath of the October storm which left many in town without power for nearly two weeks, said Business Manager Marc Dashield.
Overtime numbers are “significantly higher than we’ve had in the past,” said Dashield. “The ... response from police and fire [departments] has never been this long -- at least since I’ve been here.”
According to the township, early estimates for overtime include:
- Montclair Police Department: $140,000
- Montclair Fire Department: $198,00
- Department of Public Works: $40,000
- Health Department (who coordinated the shelters): $7,000
The price tag for the storm will significantly grow as the township now focuses on removing the debris, said Dashield. The township has already spent at least $32,000 on private contractors, including tree removal services.
Due to the many felled trees and downed branches on both private and public properties, the township decided to dispose of the debris at a later date in order to speed up the collection process. To date, much of the storm debris awaits removal from township storage areas.
The township is “just getting to the tip of the iceberg on those [disposal] costs," said Dashield. “These costs are going to go up quite a bit because we have not even incurred the disposal costs yet, plus additional contractor costs.”
There were 42 reports of limbs or trees falling on residents’ homes, according to the township. Of those, 13 homes were labeled as imminent hazards by construction officials.
Dashield said the township has begun applying for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Similar to the school district, FEMA is expected to reimburse approximately 75 percent of overtime costs associated with the storm.
However, the process to receive FEMA funds is prolonged, said Dashield, and added that the township is still waiting on federal money from the October snowstorm in 2011.
Montclair will have to put up the money itself in the interim. While the township is still calculating the cost of the storm, Dashield predicted the council may need to make an emergency appropriation to fund the overtime and cleanup.