A list of projects, such as repair of a damaged dock at Henry Hudson Park, will cost Bethlehem $4.3 million. 75 percent of that cost will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, leaving the town and state on the hook for about $540,000 each. (photo courtesy of Town of Bethlehem)
It’s a number that will raise a lot of eyebrows.
That’s the known cost of damage done to property, infrastructure and much more belonging to the town of Bethlehem during Tropical Storm Irene in late summer.
Members of the town board viewed a presentation Dec. 14 by Town Engineer Paul Penman, who broke down the more than $1 million that has been spent thus far for repairs. He also explained which town fund was used to pay for the individual projects.
For example, Penman said the town has spent $40,500 out of its General Fund for work relating to the police department and town parks. The biggest chunk of expenditures at town parks went into Henry Hudson Park, including repairs to a dock damaged during the storm.
The town has spent $172,000 out of its Highway Fund, including money spent for projects such as shoulder restorations and culvert replacements.
The biggest splash thus far has come in the town’s Water Fund, where $412,000 has been allocated. The town had significant damage after the loss of a Stage III Dam pipeline and after electrical equipment was flooded out at a well field on Dinmore Road. An additional $343,500 has been used out of the town’s Sewer Fund.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will reimburse the town for 75 percent of the agreed-upon damages, with the state and town splitting the other 25 percent. It adds up to a $540,000 price tag for the town. The problem, though, is that the town will have to put up money and wait for reimbursement.
“Somehow, we will have to find the $4.3 million,” said board member Joann Dawson, who then asked how long the reimbursement process takes. One problem, according to Penman, is that FEMA has responded to more disasters this year than it typically does.