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Storm work funding tops $1 million

The Town of Hamburg has received more than $1 million in compensation for work done after last year's October storm.

The town, which is getting $371,425 for labor and equipment used in the wake of the storm, also is receiving $667,273 to make up for money it paid contractors to help with the cleanup.

Highway Superintendent James Connolly said that 94,687 cubic yards of debris was removed at $10.75 per cubic yard, about half of what the Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines allot.

"We were able to use contractors who were local and got it done cheap and got it done timely," Connolly said.

The debris picked up in the town is the equivalent of a pile 100 feet wide, 100 feet long and 256 feet high -- about as high as the windmill towers in Lackawanna.

Connolly said the town was able to lower costs by getting rid of the wood debris locally, cutting down on time lost and gasoline burned.

About equal amounts went to the town's Lake View Road facility, Orchard Park's town composting site and a private composting company on Lake Avenue.

Connolly said the federal share of the reimbursement was $784,318, with the rest coming from state emergency funds.

The town's bill did not include the villages of Blasdell, which was hit harder than much of the rest of the town, and Hamburg, which did their own cleanups with their own public works crews.

Town Supervisor Steve Walters said the town served as a pass-through for the funds.

The town had to essentially lend the Highway Department money to pay the storm bills; now that can be paid back.

"That had to be repaid within a year," Walters said. "Thankfully, we were nearly fully reimbursed for all the extra expenses."

Connolly said he has no complaints about how FEMA handled the funding; the town received all the compensation it requested.

"I know there's a lot of criticism of FEMA, but I thought they did a very fair job responding," he said, "from the very first days up to getting the check."


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