NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Common Council members unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to dip into the city’s “rainy day fund” to temporarily pay $725,000 toward costs associated with the city’s emergency response and debris removal caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Finance Director Tom Hamilton told the council that virtually all of the appropriation will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency due to the extensive damage the storm inflicted on the whole region.
“This money was for the city’s emergency response and debris removal,” Hamilton said. “This was approved by the Board of Estimate & Taxation at its December meeting.”
Because the storm affected such large portions of the tri-state area, FEMA has worked to speed up the reimbursements to municipalities, Hamilton said, so the city could receive federal funds before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Among the emergency efforts performed by city personnel during the storm was the securing of the Island Belle tourist boat, which broke free from its mooring next to Veteran’s Memorial Park and rested across the channel on the Water Street side.
“How much of our expenses are due to the Island Belle, and where are we in getting reimbursed by them?” asked Council member Anna Duleep. The city and the operators of the boat have had a rocky relationship in recent years due to disagreements over where and how the boat should be moored, among other issues.
Hamilton said the city is calculating the costs, but he did not yet know the exact amount.
“We’re preparing to pursue it,” said Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan, adding that he believes the amount is “a very small portion of the $725,000.”