MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The four nor’easters that tore through the area last month knocked down 175 trees in the town of Carmel. To put that in perspective, Superstorm Sandy toppled 200 trees, so the March storms combined were nearly as bad.
Now, the cleanup has begun, and town officials say they still haven’t seen any money from the state or from FEMA to help offset the cost.
Highway Superintendent Mike Simone went before the Town Board at last week’s meeting (April 11) and told it that bids for waste-wood processing have all been rejected because they were much too high.
“The bids came back and far exceeded anything I have done in the past,” Simone said. “I would like to reject these bids and rebid them. The one-week rate [in the bids] is more than what I have [in the budget] for the whole year.”
The board asked Simone whether he knew why the bids were so high.
“I have no idea,” he replied. “It’s a bidder’s market out there. I don’t control it.”
Simone said that the tremendous number of trees that were knocked down during the storm has created a pile of waste wood that’s probably more than 20 feet high.
“It’s about the size of this room,” he told Mahopac News, gesturing around the main meeting room in Town Hall.
“There is a lot of wood waste that I am going to have to get rid of,” he said, “and I am hoping we get something from either FEMA or the state to get this money back. I am hoping to hear in the future from the governor who enacted the [state of emergency] to come back with some dollars to back that up. We haven’t heard anything yet.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said that he, too, had not heard from either the state or federal governments regarding reimbursement.
“We are keeping detailed records of the emergency and what transpired within the highways and it would be nice [to be reimbursed],” Simone said. “I have to get rid of the wood waste no matter what.”
The town will need to rent a tub grinder—a behemoth wood chipper—to help with the job.
“We have small chippers that chip small branches, but when you take out whole trees that are 5 feet in diameter, you need a tub grinder to come in and reduce it to chip waste,” Simone said.