Towns expect to have enough 2010 funds to pay for storm cleanup

Officials praise work of DPW crews

BY JANE MEGGITT Correspondent

Local officials commented on the holiday blizzard’s effect on their municipalities. Upper Freehold’s emergency management coordinator, William Wentzien, reported that the total amount of snow in the township totaled 22.7 inches, with the maximum snow fall rate observed at 2.8 inches per hour. The peak wind gust was 51 mph, with sustained winds averaging 29-39 mph. The lowest barometric pressure registered at 29.17 inches at 3:32 p.m. on Dec. 27.

Wentzien noted that theweather conditions were equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. Emergency services sheltered seven people who got caught on the N.J. Turnpike. Two of the travelers were from Florida and five were fromNewRochelle, N.Y. Emergencymedical services received two 911 calls. No power outages were reported to the township’s Emergency Operations Center. A local state of emergency was declared on Dec. 28 and was rescinded the following day.

“Due to the continual drifting of snow on our roads, our PublicWorks Department struggled, laboriously plowing and replowing the collective streets,” Wentzien said. “The developments have been plowed once for emergency calls and not replowed until the collective streets became passable.”

Due to the breakdown of one plow and a front-end loader on Dec. 28, Upper Freehold Township secured a contractor and received help from the Monmouth County Highway Department, according to Wentzien.

Township Administrator Dianne Kelly said the township would be able to absorb the cost of the snowstorm in its 2010 budget.

Allentown Mayor Stuart Fierstein reported that snow was removed throughout the town by Monday afternoon.

“All borough streets in all neighborhoods were made passable thanks to the efforts of our two-person public works crew,” Fierstein said.

When asked about paying for the snow clearing, Fierstein stated that the cleanup would be funded through the 2010 budget and would not affect the 2011 budget. He thanked all the residents who removed their cars from the streets early in the storm, making the job of snow removal more effective and more efficient. The Millstone Fire Department was very busy throughout the storm, according to Dave Markunas, who serves on the Millstone Board of Fire Commissioners.

“The station was staffed overnight on Sunday night with a total of six firefighters [a mix of career and volunteer] sleeping in and Monday night with a total of seven [a mix of career and volunteer] firefighters sleeping in,” Markunas said.

The department responded to a minor motor vehicle accident on Millstone Road around noon on Dec. 26, and provided mutual aid to Manalapan at 4:17 p.m. Dec. 27 for a vehicle fire on Smithburg Road.

On Dec. 27, the department also provided emergency medical assistance (EMS) for incidents on Bergen Mills Road, Millstone Road and Brookside Road.

On Dec. 28, firefighters provided mutual aid to the Hope Fire Company when a fire alarm went off on Red Valley Road.

“Firefighters assisted EMS crews by responding to calls, clearing the driveways with the fire department pickup truck equipped with a snow plow to allow the ambulance access to the driveway, shoveling paths to homes, assisting with patient care, and removing patients to the ambulance,” Markunas said.

He continued, “Firefighters maintained continuous snow removal operations in and around the firehouse grounds and also assisted a few stranded motorist whose vehicles became stuck in deep snow.”