By Drew M. Bailey, Community Reporter
Northborough – The Board of Selectmen declared a state of emergency at its Nov. 7 meeting. The declaration was due to damage from downed trees and other debris caused by the Oct. 29 Nor'saster that continues to pose a threat to public safety, and a challenge for the town's Department of Public Works (DPW) and public safety crews. This measure will allow the town to enter into contracts with debris removal companies.
The board praised the work of DPW and public safety personnel for their efforts following the storm, but stated that the extensive cleanup effort exceeded the resources of the town's already strained departments, and required the recruitment of outside contractors.
Town Administrator John Corderre and Board of Selectmen Chair Jeff Amberson both commented that it is essential debris be removed before another storm hits as it would impede snow removal efforts, and could create additional threats to public safety, and utilities.
“The town's a mess,” Corderre said, referring to damaged branches dangling above roads, sidewalks, and utility lines, as well as debris that was cut up in the immediate wake of the storm, but not yet removed.
The declared state of emergency allows for deficit spending up to $200,000. The funds could be drawn from the Appropriation Committee's Reserve Account, the town's available free cash fund, or $68,217 received in fiscal year 2012 state aid. In addition the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) may reimburse the town for expenditures related to the storm, although Corderre said that at this time it is unknown to what level.
Residents are encouraged to report any instances of hanging branches that may interfere with roads, sidewalks, or utility lines, to the office of the Town Administrator at 508-393-5040.
A weekend drop-off will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, between 8 a.m. and noon, at the highway garage located at 190 Main St. This service is available to Northborough residents only.