Roxbury awaits FEMA funds to offset losses

By Pauline Liu
Nearly four months after Tropical Storm Irene caused more than $600,000 in flood damage in the Town of Roxbury, town officials have finally been contacted by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials.

At Monday night’s final regularly scheduled town board meeting of the year, officials met at town hall to discuss what progress has been made.

Highway Superintendent Steve Schuman told the board that he has held one meeting with FEMA Coordinator Tom Carter and at press time, he was preparing to meet with Carter a second time. So far, he has shown the FEMA representative three of the town’s badly flood- damaged roads, namely George Lawrence, Bed Hollow and Denver Vega roads. Since the three roads still need to be surfaced with stone and oil in the spring, Schuman explained that reimbursement for the work on those roads may not be available until next summer.

In order to begin the reimbursement process, the town is working on submitting documentation for flood repairs that have been completed. “He (Carter) said he was going to break them down, so we can start being paid, “ said Allen Hinkley, who is both a town councilman and the fire chief. “I’ve had the guys jot down how many hours they were on each job and what was spent in materials,” added Schuman. He explained there are two “slides” on Johnson Hollow in Grand Gorge that need to be repaired, since the surface gave way.

The topic of dangerous ditches was raised by Roxbury resident Ed Dalski. The subject soon turned to roadside ditches along Route 30 from Roxbury to Grand Gorge, which town officials unanimously agreed were dug dangerously deep to accommodate runoff. “The way they’ve got them in there with the ledges, it’s very dangerous,” said Hinkley. “We’re going to be recovering some dead bodies from there,” he added. “They lowered the ditches for the water,” said Roxbury Town Supervisor Tom Hynes. A number of town councilmen agreed that the state highway crews could fill the ditches with some coarse rock to alleviate the problem. Town Attorney Kevin Young suggested the town write a letter to notify the state DOT of the problem. Hinkley said he would be glad to write the letter as the town’s fire chief.

In other news. the town has hired Robert Breglio of Preston Hollow to serve as part-time assessor after Kim Cammer steps down at the end of the year. Breglio is currently an assessor for Schoharie County. Supervisor Hynes explained that town will be also be turning Stephanie Seminara’s part-time assessor’s clerk position into a full-time job as of the first of the year.

Hynes also announced that the pump station at Hubbell Corners will be repaired in the next couple of weeks. The pump station was damaged by flooding. It serves about 50 homes and there has been no interruption in service. He also explained that in Roxbury Run there are pumps to be replaced. There are several wells that are not in use and Hynes said if the repairs are made, some can be used for backup .

The town board will meet at town hall on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. to finalize all year- end business and on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m., the board will gather again to hold an organizational meeting for the start of 2012.

Hynes explained that the town board is also trying to schedule a meeting with property owners to discuss hamlet extension in Grand Gorge, but so far no meeting date has been set.