“They won’t give us a number,” said Penman. “I’ve been told in previous disasters funding was already coming in by this time in the process.
Penman said they met with FEMA officials as recently as the week of Dec. 5. The wait for the federal reimbursement may take a while. Outgoing Comptroller Suzanne Traylor told the board that the town received its last check from FEMA this year for damages done during the devastating ice storm that blanketed the region in December 2008.
There are plenty of other projects the town could undertake that would add to the detailed costs. One such project would potentially remove the damaged Onesquethaw Bridge in the southern portion of the town. Penman said town staff still has to conduct a review of the bridge, which was built in 1912, and prepare a recommendation for the board. The cost to restore the bridge would be about $500,000, according to Penman, who said that there is some flexibility with FEMA for other possibilities regarding their 75 percent share of the project.
“What we may consider doing is taking down the bridge for $150,000, and then consider the $300,000 for alternate projects,” said Penman. The town would still be committed to its 12.5 percent share for the project and related federal reimbursements.
“It might be nice if the money that we identify for other projects is then also allocated for work that was in this (same) part of the town,” suggested board member Mark Hennessey.
There are unknowns looming over the town as well. Penman’s presentation included potential investments to realign the Onesquethaw Creek to its original alignment. The town estimates the creek shifted about 350 feet due to rapid waters and flooding during the storm. Another problem is the 12 cubic yards of pipeline that was found after the storm at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. An inspection would need to be done to find out what part of the interceptor sewer line that pipe came from.