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Hurricane Sandy Emergency Costs to Hit 2013 Budget

Hillsdale officials said they expect most or all of the emergency expenses to be covered by FEMA.

Emergency costs for Hurricane Sandy will roll over into next year's budget, but the total amount had not yet been determined, according to Hillsdale officials.

Mayor Max Arnowitz had authorized department managers to spend as they saw fit during the storm and its aftermath as some supplies ran low and many residents faced power outages lasting for days. The borough and Old Tappan had to search for gas for municipal vehicles and generators, eventually finding some in Massachusetts. Police had to work overtime to cover the numerous calls coming in and long lines of traffic waiting at gas stations. DPW crews also had to put in extra hours after the storm to pick up the large amounts of debris left by the storm.

"We had to spend the money," Arnowitz said. "We had to get the job done."

Most or all of the money spent by the borough for the storm will likely be refunded by FEMA, officials said. The exact amount is not known, so the costs will still have to go entirely into the 2013 budget and any refund will go into surplus, according to Councilman Douglas Frank. After Hurricane Irene, FEMA refunded between 75 and 80 percent of Hillsdale's emergency expenses, Arnowitz said.

Officials praised local emergency responders and borough employees, who did an "absolutely amazing job" serving both in and out of Hillsdale after Sandy hit, Arnowitz said. In addition to helping local residents, some Hillsdale firefighters went down to the shore and assisted harder-hit communities there.

"I am thrilled that we got through the storm without any serious injuries and especially without any flooding," Arnowitz said.

Officials were less thrilled with the response to power outages from PSE&G. Some Hillsdale residents were without power for 12 days.

"They weren't outstanding, but I think they did the best they could," Arnowitz said. 

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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