IRMA FUNDS

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY -

$350,000 for dam­age to pub­lic build­ings and $150,000 for dam­age to parks and re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties.

The town is still com­pil­ing the costs for ero­sion to its beaches.

At a Town Coun­cil meet­ing ear­lier this month, Bood­hesh­war said early as­sess­ments put the dam­age to all pri­vate prop­erty in town at $34 mil­lion. Coun­ty­wide, dam­age was at $500 mil­lion and grow­ing, he said.

Nearly a year af­ter Hurricane Matthew blew through last October, the town still awaits fed­eral and state re­im­burse­ment for the costs as­so­ci­ated with that storm. In that case, the town is el­i­gi­ble for the cost of de­bris re­moval, emer­gency protective mea­sures, and dam­age to parks, recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and beaches, he said.

FEMA is ex­pected to re­im­burse 75 per­cent and the state 12.5 per­cent of Matthew-re­lated ex­penses, leav­ing the town to cover 12.5 per­cent, Bood­hesh­war said.

“The ini­tial meet­ing with FEMA rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Matthew ap­pli­ca­tion took place in mid-October and the process wrapped up in July,” he said. “We are now await­ing the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion of our re­im­burse­ment amounts. We ex­pect a very sim­i­lar process and time­line for the ap­pli­ca­tion process re­lated to Irma.”

Bood­hesh­war shared some Irma statis­tics at a Town Coun­cil meet­ing ear­lier this month. Dur­ing the pe­riod when po­lice check­points were in place at all en­try points to the town, which was Sept. 9-16, the town re­ceived 1,240 calls to the Po­lice and Fire-Res­cue de­part­ments, 22 calls for downed power lines (some of which were live), 18 calls for blown trans­form­ers and 19 med­i­cal calls, mostly for mi­nor is­sues. Check­points were re­moved the morn­ing of Sept. 17.

Twenty in­ci­dents in­volved law en­force­ment in­ter­ven­tion, eight of which ended in ar­rest, he said. There was one ma­jor in­jury, in­volv­ing a man with a chain saw, and one fa­tal­ity. Res­i­dent Linda Ross­bach, 77, was found dead at home on Sept. 11, the day af­ter the storm. A rel­a­tive has said she prob­a­bly died of an aneurysm on Sept. 8.

Pub­lic safety or other town em­ploy­ees did 37 wel­fare checks on pri­vate homes. “A lot of peo­ple were call­ing in and ask­ing about their par­ents,” he said.

About 70 trees were lost on pub­lic prop­erty, about 27 of which will be re­planted. There also are co­conut palms still stand­ing that may yet suc­cumb to storm dam­age, he said.

Some 3,100 cu­bic yards of beach sand had washed onto town roads, equiv­a­lent to 200 truck­loads, most of which Bood­hesh­war said will be re­turned to the beaches.

Hun­dreds of truck­loads of yard de­bris has been hauled off the is­land. Crews will make three full passes through­out the is­land and will haul ap­prox­i­mately 1,500 loads be­fore it’s over, Pub­lic Works Direc­tor Paul Brazil said.

“We are half­way through our sec­ond pass,” Brazil said Fri­day. “Right now we are work­ing south of Wells Road head­ing to­ward Royal Poin­ciana Way.”

Within a few days, a town con­trac­tor will be­gin de­bris re­moval at the coun­try clubs, The So­ci­ety of the Four Arts and The Break­ers. Those larger prop­er­ties were left out of the first pass be­cause they have enough space to store their de­bris, and the ini­tial fo­cus was to clear the streets, Brazil said.

In roughly one week, power was re­stored to all 9,600 FPL cus­tomers who lost it, he said.

About 250 town em­ploy­ees logged more than 14,000 hours pre­par­ing and re­spond­ing to Irma, Bood­hesh­war said.

“We have a lot of (salaried) em­ploy­ees who will not be paid for the many, many hours they put in in prepa­ra­tion and re­sponse to this storm,” he said. “Their mo­ti­va­tion was this com­pet­i­tive edge: they wanted Palm Beach to be the one that re­cov­ered faster than ev­ery­one else.”

Dar­rell Hofheinz / Daily News

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