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FEMA May Pay 75% of Mahwah's Sandy Cleanup Costs

But, the township needs to shell out the money first, then it will be reimbursed, officials said

Mahwah township officials say they are getting pretty good at asking the federal government for money to help pay for natural disasters. They did it twice last year, for the Halloween snowstorm and Hurricane Irene.

“Fortunately, or unfortunately, we’ve had practice, so we know the process we have to go through,” Business Administrator Brian Campion said at a township council meeting Thursday night. "A FEMA representative will be assigned to Mahwah."

He and other Mahwah officials are planning to meet with representatives from FEMA next week for initial discussions on Hurricane Sandy reimbursement, he said.

“We are anticipating FEMA could cover 75% of our [cleanup] costs,” Campion said. However, he said the township is still calculating how much, exactly, it cost to clean up after the storm.

While the numbers are not yet in, the post-storm response indicates they are going to be big. Many township departments indicated Sandy sparked one of the biggest responses they’ve ever handled, and DPW street cleanup of storm debris is still continuing.

According to Campion, the town needs to pay for all of the costs upfront, meet with FEMA to present its costs, and then be reimbursed by the federal agency for costs incurred as a result of the storm. Campion said he expects FEMA to pay the reimbursement in 2013 sometime.

The township is also looking to other sources of revenue to help pay for the response to the storm. For example, Mahwah recently received a recycling tonnage grant that Campion said would help pay for ongoing leaf pickup. He said he was unsure how much recycling Mahwah was credited with in 2012, or the amount of the grant, but did say it “should help offset costs.”

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