“Superstorm Sandy” – To quote, “It’s like déjà vu all over again”! The ‘Halloween’ storm of 2011 and now Superstorm Sandy of 2012! Virtually all of Demarest lost power on Monday October 29. After a gargantuan effort by tree and electric crews, power was restored to about half of Demarest on Saturday Nov. 3 with the other half on Sunday Nov. 4. A few individual homes had power restored on Friday Nov. 9.
I offer a very sincere thank you to our volunteers on the Fire Department, Ambulance Corps and Community Emergency Response Team. Employees in the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Police Departments worked tirelessly during the storm and their work is very much appreciated. I thank our Demarest residents for your patience as we addressed power outages and our continuing cleanup of storm debris and leaves.
We coordinated tree removal from wires with Rockland Electric crews so repairs to wires could be quickly made. Rockland Electric officials gave us full cooperation, responding in a timely manner considering the magnitude of damage over such a wide-spread area. Once crews (either Rockland Electric or their contractors) arrived in Demarest, they remained until virtually all customers’ power was restored. Tree crews from Michigan and line crews from Georgia Power worked hand-in-hand with Demarest to get power back as quickly as possible.
To expedite cleanup and keep our DPW employees and contractors safe, please keep branches and piles of leaves separate. Please keep the piles of branches and leaves off the streets as much as possible so as not to create a safety hazard for pedestrians and vehicles and keep sidewalks clear of any obstructions.
Your governing body has authorized additional emergency funds to deal with the cleanup and we anticipate receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of personnel with chain saws and chippers.
An additional thank you to the many volunteers at Borough Hall who spent Thursday afternoon (Nov. 1) collating, folding and sealing the nearly 1,800 packets of information on the proposed police merger with Bergen County. Due to the storm, without these volunteers, who thought they were just at Borough Hall to recharge their phones and computers, we may not have been able to deliver this information to our residents in time for Election Day.
Proposed Police Merger – The vote, excluding absentee and provisional ballots, on the proposed police merger was 1,002 in favor and 756 opposed. The next step for your governing body is to vote on introducing an ordinance to merge Demarest Police with County Police and if this receives a majority of affirmative votes, I anticipate a public hearing will be held on this ordinance at the Dec. 3 Mayor & Council meeting. The Bergen County Freeholder Board also has to approve this merger, action they may take at their meetings in Nov. and Dec.
New Borough Hall Employee – Philip Moore started work on Oct. 29 as our new Chief Financial Officer and Tax Collector. What an auspicious start, a “superstorm” with 4th quarter tax payments due Nov. 1. Welcome to Demarest Phil! Seriously, Phil has already started addressing the backlog of work in the finance office with assistance from Sadie Delihasani our Deputy Tax Collector.
At the risk of offending those who like snow, I hope this winter is similar to last. Perhaps Mother Nature spent her resources in October and will give us another mild winter. We can all certainly use a break.