Edgecomb storm cleanup estimated at $45,000

Town seeking state, federal reimbursement
Posted:  Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 7:00pm

It has taken about 350 man hours in the past week for Edgecomb firefighters to remove debris from the town’s roads. Fire Chief Roy Potter and Edgecomb Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Witzell told selectmen Nov. 6, how workers spent the past week addressing damage the Oct. 30 wind storm caused to municipal roads.

Road Commissioner Scott Griffin estimated the municipal cleanup cost is $45,000. The estimate is $10,000 for hours worked by volunteer firefighters who cleared the roads, set up safety barricades, cut and cleared damaged trees, and repaired generators. A municipal road crew hired by Griffin is expected to finish the debris removal. Firefighters made roads navigable by moving fallen trees and limbs to the side of road. The road crew needs to complete the process by removing debris so roads can be plowed this winter.

The unexpected state of emergency leaves town officials wondering how to pay. Selectmen may hold a special town meeting to decide whether to pay the municipal road crew from municipal surplus or seek a loan. The town could also pay firefighters in the same manner, but Potter indicated he favors using the current method of submitting department hours at year’s end and being compensated in the next fiscal year.

Town officials are hoping to receive state and federal assistance in paying for the damage and cleanup.

“We probably qualify for state assistance because of the state of emergency declared by the governor. We’re working on the paperwork and maybe we will qualify for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funds, too,” Witzell said.

In other action, selectmen sent a letter to the Maine Department of Transportation regarding the traffic flow improvement plan for Route 27 and U.S. Route 1. Selectmen want department officials to respond to Englebrekt Road residents’ concerns about the plan. During a recent public meeting with MDOT officials, residents had concerns that with MDOT’s proposed “Florida-T,” adding a second northbound lane in front of Englebrekt Road would make merging with traffic more difficult than it already is. The road improvement project is expected to begin and be completed in 2019.

In the letter, selectmen urged MDOT officials to incorporate residents’ concerns.

“The select board urges you to consider the residents and visitors of Englebrekt Road while developing your plan. There are over 12 homes on Englebrekt Road with residents who navigate this turn on a daily basis,” wrote Chairman Jack Sarmanian.

Selectmen are looking for an MDOT response to Englebrekt Road residents’ concerns prior to the next public hearing.

Selectmen are also hoping to meet with planning board and ordinance review committee members about a floating house ordinance. In March, residents approved a 180-day moratorium on floating houses. Selectmen decided against extending the moratorium when it expired and now they want to meet with the joint committee to see if an ordinance will be ready for a town meeting vote.

Selectmen will meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 in the municipal building.