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Sandy Storm Costs Hovering Around $4.5M

Village auditor seeking advice from fiscal advisors on whether officials should borrow short-term to pay down expenses.

Village auditor seeking advice from fiscal advisors on whether officials should borrow short-term to pay down expenses.
Village auditor seeking advice from fiscal advisors on whether officials should borrow short-term to pay down expenses.
Superstorm Sandy cleanup costs are expected to hover around the $4.5 million mark while rebuliding costs (streetlight cables, sidewalks, etc.) are still undetermined, according to village auditor Jim Olivo.

Village officials expect to see an 87.5 percent FEMA reimbursement of storm expenses. This leaves Garden City footing the bill for 12.5 percent or roughly $562,500 (which is just over 1 percent of the village budget), Olivo said.

Mayor Don Brudie, in Friday's Mayor's Message, said all of the timber and brush have been removed from the village, including the massive pile of material that was temporarily stored at the Village Yard and at 550 Stewart Avenue. He also noted that all of the stumps left from the village trees have been removed and the cavities filled and leveled in preparation for spring. Further, concrete from broken sidewalks and curbs is currently being removed and the voids filled and leveled.

"The sidewalk flags and curbing that were destroyed by fallen village-owned trees will be replaced by an incorporated Village of Garden City contractor at the incorporated village’s expense," he wrote. "The Department of Public Works is currently scheduling the work with our contractor. Residents should be aware that this is weather and temperature sensitive work which may delay progress until the spring."

At a FEMA kick-off meeting in November, Public Works director Robert Mangan was happy to hear that Garden City was getting reimbursed for 30 days of straight time compared to the usual overtime.

"Usually on disaster recovery applications you're only allowed to put in overtime," he said. "They waived that and said we could put in for 30 days of straight time because of the amount of clean up that has to be done. It's a big help to the village."

Olivo said the FEMA formulas are very complex. "Until final confirmation, which will take months, we just can’t say what our cost will be ... We really should be on the hook only for the 562,500 as of the foreseeable items at this time," he said.

Despite the expenses trustee and finance chair Andrew Cavanaugh said the village will end the fiscal year balanced. Olivo adds, however, with less surplus available for appropriations. "This will show in the budget process," he said.

Trustee Dennis Donnelly wanted the board to seek the finance department's opinion on whether or not officials should borrow short-term to pay down storm expenses since several bonds lie on the horizon for senior center renovations and roller hockey rink upgrades.

"I will be seeking advice from our fiscal advisors on his question," Olivo told Patch. "My comments have been that we do not need to borrow. In this interest rate environment, we earn so little on invested cash, it is not generally advisable to incur interest expense on borrowings when the cash flowing from the borrowings is not required to pay bills."

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