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Hurricane Sandy Remains Center of Attention

Assessing damage and response, Tarrytown's village board meets for first time since storm pummeled the area.

Hurricane Sandy, whose merciless winds blew last week’s village board work session right off the schedule, remained the focus of attention Monday night as trustees breezed through an otherwise light agenda.

Mayor Drew Fixell thanked village workers for their yeoman efforts during and after the superstorm’s extended pre-Halloween visit last week, saying, “We are incredibly appreciative of the incredible work that everybody did.”

Village Administrator Michael Blau, repeating a statistic he reported earlier Monday to Patch, said that 14 percent of Con Edison’s customers in the village remained without power. He compared that to communities “at the high end of the scale” like New Castle, home of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where he quoted Con Ed as saying almost two-thirds of its customers—65 percent—were still in the dark. In Scarsdale, he said, 62 percent reportedly remain out; in North Castle, 54 percent.

“So, at 14 percent, we’re at the lower end of the scale of outages with Con Edison,” the administrator said. Others at the low end include Elmsford, 5 percent, and Mount Kisco, 4 percent. “Tuckahoe is lucky enough to have [only] 1 percent of its population out,” Blau said. 

“The numbers [for Tarrytown] should continue to go down,” he said, adding, “Obviously, not as quickly as we’d like.”

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Blau said, Con Ed had dispatched trucks and work crews to Westchester’s municipalities—one for each, including Tarrytown. In addition, he noted, local governments could request a liaison, a utility employee who would coordinate Con Ed’s response to municipal emergency needs. The liaison would arrange, for example, to clear streets to give emergency vehicles access, remove trees from power lines, provide power for water and sewage-treatment plants and restore traffic signals at major intersections.

Tarrytown’s liaison reported for duty last Tuesday morning and is still on-scene.

“I want to note that the village public works staff do not cut trees that are on power lines until the lines are deactivated,” Blau said. “Only Con Edison staff can deactivate the power lines” and assure village staffers that they are safe to handle.

Blau contrasted today’s egalitarian treatment of local governments with the perceptions of an earlier period. “At one time, larger communities—municipalities with political clout—were seen as receiving preferential treatment,” he recalled. “So, a committee was formed to establish procedure. I was a member of that committee.” The panel hammered out a protocol that requires equal treatment for all municipalities in the emergency response process.

“During the aftermath of the hurricane, representatives of the village participated daily in conference calls and briefings with both the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services and Con Edison,” he said.

In setting priorities for power restoration, Blau said, the utility considers how much work needs to be done, how long it will take to do it and how many customers the effort will likely bring back.

In a related announcement—potentially good news for fuel-starved motorists—Blau reported that the Mobil gas station near the I-287 bridge on South Broadway had just received a 9,300-gallon gasoline infusion and planned to pump it out 'round the clock. Likewise, the Hess station, also on South Broadway, took delivery on 3,000 gallons. It, too, planned to be open 24 hours but to draw down its tanks only to the 1,500-gallon mark to avoid pumping bottom sludge.

 

In other action . . .

Working with a light agenda, the board moved briskly through the evening’s business, including these items.

THE MAYOR announced that the Tarrytown Pilgrim four-mile run will go off as scheduled, at 10:30 in the morning this Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Hackley School. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Call the Recreation Department at 631-8347 for additional information.

MORABITO ELECTRIC Inc., 26 Church St., Tarrytown, with a $1,400 bid, won a contract to supply the police department with an uninterruptible power supply. It’s intended to keep electronics functioning during the gap between a power failure and a current flow from the force’s backup generator.

LORI SEMERARO criticized the locations street vendors were permitted to occupy along the route of the Halloween Ragamuffin parade, saying they posed a threat to safety.

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