$15.6 million from FEMA to offset cost of cleanup

By Thomas J. Dolan
Amherst, NY (June 15, 2007)- Federal emergency reimbursements for cleanup operations after last October’s damaging snowstorm arrived Thursday in Amherst, just in time to help the town trim its borrowing costs, officials said. “Today we got a check for $15 million,” Supervisor Satish B. Mohan announced at a news conference in his office. Actually, the check was for $15.6 million, but nobody was quibbling.

What remains to be done, the felling of damaged trees from town rights of way, will cost more than $3 million, but town officials also say it is too early to estimate Amherst’s final share for operations related to the October storm. Mohan also revealed that town officials were surprised to learn that FEMA paid $3.1 million in administrative fees that the town did not submit for payment. The money was intended to pay the cost of monitoring the removal of trees by DRC.
Mohan also repeated his concerns about citizen reaction once the town starts removing more than 9,000 trees from rights of way, estimated to cost $3.1 million. “This will be the biggest battle of the year,” Mohan said. “People love their trees. People hug their trees. Trees are like their pets.” Mohan said he gets daily calls and visitors who want to save their trees, but he said Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones does not want people to pay for tree removals.
A town appeal for donations of trees to replace those that will be felled has apparently fallen on deaf ears. So far, the only donations the town received were about two dozen trees from Home Depot.
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