Clarification: On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Gov. Chris Christie asked Pres. Barack Obama to declare 11 counties in the state to be disaster areas. The federal government has not issued the declaration as of Nov. 17; thus, Woodbridge and other municipalities are not eligible at this point for FEMA funding.
The cleanup of the debris left behind by last month's is pretty much over, and caused Woodbridge to dip into its winter snowstorm fund, reserved for just such emergencies.
But the township is expecting to get reimbursed for the expense, which had Public Works employees working non-stop to pick up fallen branches and even trees that had collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow that fell just before Halloween.
As of last week, the township had hauled off more than 450 tons of debris, said township spokesman John Hagerty.
"This is what our 'calamity budget' is for," Hagerty said. "Normally it's for snowstorms in the middle of winter, instead of picking up branches in October."
There's no estimate yet on what the cleanup cost is, but Hagerty said overtime for public works employees was involved.
Hagerty said the township is expected to be partially reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That is possible because the state and federal government declared areas hit by the freak snowstorm to be federal disaster areas.
The township is also submitting requests for reimbursement for costs involved in August's Hurricane Irene cleanup, Hagerty said. The snowstorm caused "storm damage to our municipal infrastructure and overtime for cleanup. We're applying to get some of that money back from FEMA," he said.
The snowstorm and also wreaked havoc with the township's leaf collection calendar, but that's expected to be back on track this week.
The collection program runs through Dec. 30, and residents can consult the pickup calendar to find out when to bring their bagged leaves to the curb for pickup.
Anyone who needs the paper biodegradeable leaf bags can get them from the in Keasbey. For more information, call 732-738-1311, ext. 3049.