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Emergency Funds Needed for Repairs After Hurricane

The council approves funds into the budget for new police vehicles and township repairs.

As the township continues its clean-up following Hurricane Irene at the end of August, additional money is needed in the 2011 budget to pay for repairs and new police vehicles to replace ones that were destroyed.

The township council unanimously approved two resolutions Monday to account for the emergency appropriations.

One resolution put $132,000 into the 2011 budget to replace a few of the police vehicles, after four were damaged irreparably during Hurricane Irene.

According to the resolution, the funds included in the budget for these vehicles will be paid back in increments over the 2012, 2013 and 2014 budgets.

Council president Howard Norgalis said there four separate incidents that damaged vehicles during the rains from about 12:30 a.m. Aug. 27 through about 1 a.m. Aug. 28.

“I can give firsthand testimony of the ferocity of the storm,” he said.

Norgalis said the first incident occurred when an officer was driving on Country Club Road, and the car became disabled in the floodwaters on the street.

“The officer had gone that exact route five minutes before and there was no problem,” he said.

Then, on Route 22 near Mountain Avenue Norgalis said, a wave of water came across the road and engulfed the vehicle.

“That was actually the Peters Brook over-washing the intersection and three lanes of Route 22 West,” Norgalis said.

And in Martinsville, Norgalis said, an officer was driving on Washington Valley Road, but had to turn around because of a tree down. The only way to go down the mountain, he said, was on Crim Road, which was fine when the officer first passed through.

But when he had to turn around because of a downed tree, Norgalis said, the officer was forced back up Crim Road through a street that had actually become flooded.

“At another point the only road was Sherlin Drive that appeared negotiable,” he said. “But the air intake on the Crown Victoria is below the lights in the front, and the water got in.”

And in the final incident, Norgalis said, an officer was driving back to the police station on Garretson Road after picking up the officer who had had a vehicle disabled on Country Club Road.

“But all roadways back to headquarters were flooded at that point, so that car became disabled too,” he said.

Norgalis said claims have been filed on the vehicles for insurance purposes, so they’re hoping to be able to pay for the costs through insurance or FEMA funds.

Originally, the resolution had required $162,000 for the vehicles, but the price has been reduced to $132,000.

“We are re-utilizing whatever could be salvageable for vehicles,” Norgalis said.

The second resolution requires $210,000 to be put into the budget as an emergency appropriation for repairing damages from Hurricane Irene.

According to the resolution, there was extensive damage to streets, drainage structures, trees and streams. This money would be for clean-up and emergency repairs.

Natasha Turchan, director of finance, said they are hoping a lot will be reimburseable by FEMA.

“But it takes a while for that to take affect, so we’re moving forward with the funds,” she said.

At this point, Turchan said, she does not know what exactly the funds will be used for, but they will be for emergency repairs needed because of the hurricane.

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