The East Hampton Town Board authorized $2.25 million in bonds last week to cover the cost of funding repairs to town property in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The Town Board unanimously authorized the borrowing when it met on Thursday—one for $750,000 to reconstruct and improve various town facilities and buildings damaged by the storm, and one for $1.5 million to reconstruct roads damaged by the hurricane.
Town Budget Officer Len Bernard said the goal is to get the expenditures reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency sometime next year. In the past, the agency has reimbursed the town between 75 and 90 percent for storm damage costs.
“The pie is limited,” Mr. Bernard said. “It’s just a matter of how many pieces of that pie have to be cut up. I don’t think the FEMA pot is endless.”
Parts of East Hampton Town—particularly Montauk—were slammed by the hurricane’s powerful storm surge, according to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who said he’s not surprised by the cost of damage. The list of big ticket items that need repairing includes Gerard Drive in Springs, which was severely flooded. Mr. Bernard and Mr. Wilkinson estimated that completely reconstructing the road could cost close to $1 million.
Also on the list are stairs at Colloden Point, which led to a small beach. Those stairs were carried away by the storm, and Mr. Bernard estimates they will cost as much as $50,000 to replace. The causeway on Star Island was also damaged, to the tune of about $100,000, said Mr. Bernard.
At last week’s meeting, Mr. Wilkinson announced that the Department of Labor in Suffolk County and New York State had obtained a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to hire temporary workers to assist in the recovery effort post-Hurricane Sandy. The county is conducting the interviews for East Hampton Town workers. Mr. Wilkinson said he believes that the town could hire 10 employees. The salary is $14.89 per hour, for a duration of up to 12 weeks, at 35 hours a week. Those interested in being considered should call 631-853-6600.
An earlier estimate by Mr. Wilkinson this month priced the damage at $275,000, but even then the supervisor noted that the figure would likely rise. Town officials have been closely documenting the damage, he said, calling the process “a hundred times better than we’ve done it in the past.”
“They’ve gathered costs this year in a way that includes labor hours, gas mileage, rental of equipment as well as the manufacture of replacement roads, cleanup and things of that nature,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “So it’s rather precise on what they’ve gathered to come up with something that really resembles what the cost is to East Hampton.”