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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Late hour maroons financiers' vote on $5.2M in Sandy repairs

Updated 4:39 pm, Thursday, January 10, 2013

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  • Fairfield building maintenance department worker Rick Sastre attaches a new base to an old phone booth, damaged during Hurricane sandy at the town's historic Ye Yacht Yard at the mouth of Southport Harbor. One of the larger buildings at the site was also severely damaged during the storm. Photo: Brian A. Pounds
    Fairfield building maintenance department worker Rick Sastre attaches a new base to an old phone booth, damaged during Hurricane sandy at the town's historic Ye Yacht Yard at the mouth of Southport Harbor. One of the larger buildings at the site was also severely damaged during the storm. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

 

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The U.S. House of Representatives isn't the only legislative body to delay a vote on funding for Superstorm Sandy repairs and cleanup.

The Board of Finance on Tuesday, faced with a request for $5.2 million in local repairs caused by the October storm, put off discussion and vote on the bonding request because members did not get to the agenda item until just about midnight.

Plans now are for a special meeting on the $5.2 million request at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday in Sullivan-Independence Hall.

At first, board members wanted to table the discussion until their February meeting, but Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo said that would delay several of the projects that really should get started in March in order to be ready for the spring.

Among the projects included in the bonding request are the repair and raising of the Penfield Pavilion; repairs to drainage along Fairfield Beach Road; sand replenishment at four public beaches; channel dredging at the marina and Southport Harbor; repairs to the fishing pier; replacing concession stands at Southport and Sasco beaches, and repairing the bathroom and storage building at Ye Yacht Yard.

Michelangelo said he would be willing to pull out five or six top priorities, which the board could then vote on that night, putting off the remainder for another meeting.

"You're asking for a lot, to be revising the bond resolution and separating things out at this hour" said Vice Chairman Robert Bellitto Jr. "It's just rife with potential problems."

The board spent the first two hours of the session discussing the firefighters' pension system, and had two other agenda items to deal with prior to the Sandy request.

Finance board member Kenneth Brachfeld pointed out that a large percentage of the $5.2 million will never actually have to be bonded because of anticipated reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town expects FEMA to reimbuse about 75 percent of the projects' costs, although Michelangelo said that is not guaranteed.

"We were not aware of the time crunch," Flynn said.

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