Town seeks reimbursement for storm damage from Isaias

A massive cleanup effort and damages from Tropical Storm Isaias carried close to $200,000 in costs for the town. Contributed

MONROE, CT — First Selectman Ken Kellogg anticipates up $200,000 in costs for the town to recover from damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” he told the Board of Finance at its meeting last Thursday. “I anticipate, at this point $150,000 to 200,000 in costs related to the tropical storm, the bulk of that from debris removal and processing — basically trees and brush and a lot of that, some overtime and damage to town property.”

President Donald Trump declared an emergency declaration for Storm Isaias, which will allow Connecticut to apply for federal aid to offset costs for damage from the storm, which caused massive power outages.

“There is possible FEMA reimbursement for some of those costs and a very strong likelihood of insurance from CIRMA for town property,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg said a lot of documentation has to be done for the town’s FEMA application. He also said there are other grants the town may be able to tap into.

“We’ll know more as we get into this,” he said. “Hopefully by next month we’ll have a better sense of what those costs are and what relief we can get.”

Craig Hirsch, a finance board member, asked if any assistance will be available for private citizens.

“The Small Business Administration loan process is the most likely relief,” Kellogg said. “Again, for non-insured losses, and we would make sure that information is available to our residents.”

Delays in recovery time

Steve Kirsch, a finance board member, recalled that the town decided to hold off on including money for a bucket truck and a chipper for capital equipment in the spring of 2019, then the COVID-19 pandemic struck this year.

“Would that equipment have helped us at all in the recovery time?” Kirsch asked.

“Not in a significant fashion,” Kellogg said, explaining how public works crews could not go into areas with downed power lines until contractors from Eversource ensured work zones were safe.

“We had all the crews,” he said. “Public works was ready to go. We had our tree vendors in there. There was a wait for Eversource.”

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