Weston Seeks FEMA Funds To Pay For Equipment, Overtime

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Weston area homes are hit with tree damage during Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

WESTON, Conn. — Weston purchased a wood chipper for $41,000 to cut trees that fell during Hurricane Sandy and expects FEMA to pick up most of the tab.

"FEMA would either pay an hourly rate for the use of the wood chipper that Weston could use for partial payment or FEMA could buy the wood chipper and we use it and give it back," town administrator Tom Landry said.

"FEMA has never paid for equipment before, but it looks like they may pay a portion of it."

The agency is willing to reimburse Weston 100 percent of the cost of its expenses during the first 10 days after the hurricane, which exceeds the 75 percent that was paid for past storms, he said.

The payments will help Weston meet overtime costs that totaled more than $105,000 for the two-week pay period that began Oct. 28, the day the storm hit. Overtime for police was $62,851 with amounts near $40,000 each for highway and dispatch. 

Police overtime is budgeted at $200,000 for the entire year, so that cost is nearly a third the annual total, he said.

Storm-related expenses also included opening the emergency center at the high school, additional library hours and food expenses for the line crews and other workers, Landry said.

There was no storm-related damage to town buildings, he said.

FEMA has paid for storm damage previously, but payment is slow. "We could finish the fiscal year without receiving FEMA money so we'd have to pay for it, but we'll get it back," he said.

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