Town of Smithtown officials released a revised estimate of $5.3 million for Hurricane Sandy's cleanup on Tuesday. And they expect the cost to continue to climb over the upcoming weeks.
Smithtown's Highway Supervisor Glenn Jorgensen and Public Safety Director John Valentine presented their latest calculations on the cost of Hurricane Sandy to the town board in a Tuesday morning work session.
On Nov. 26, Jorgenson told Patch that he expected storm cleanup would cost the town approximately $4 million and would last until Christmas. However, that was before Highway Department crews started their second sweep through the town collecting debris.
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the revised $5.3 million estimate is just that, 'only an estimate' as he expects that number to increase.
"I would think so, as [the cleanup] hasn't ended yet. We're still out there working," Vecchio said.
The Highway Department's 142 members are still working overtime to collect debris, and brush – all the while trying to play catch-up with the annual fall leaf collection.
In addition, Smithtown Town Board still has a number of outstanding bids out for private contractors to aid with the cleanup and recovery process.
Given the current estimate of $5.3 million, Superstorm Sandy will cost the town roughly four times that of Tropical Storm Irene's hefty $1.3 million price tag in 2011.
Vecchio said he expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse Smithtown approximately 75 to 80 percent of Sandy's final cleanup costs. However, that will still leave town officials responsible for figuring out how to pay off at least $1,325,000 - and whether to pin it on local taxpayers.
Residents will not feel Sandy's potential impact until the town's 2014 budget is drawn up, as Vecchio said FEMA can take up to one year to send out reimbursements. The town recieved its $1 million check from FEMA for Irene's $1.3 million bill in June 2012.