Mayor George Hutnick said Ogdensburg was one of the only towns to lose 100 percent of their electric power during the snow storm, which was unacceptable.
Hutnick gave the DPW kudos for going “above and beyond” by completing the bulk of the cleanup, so the power company crews had access to fix the power lines.
Furthermore, Hutnick said, he and Council President Michael Nardini met with Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and N.J. Senator Steve Oroho to observe, discuss, and determine what the borough needs for the future. He added that Sherrill and Oroho had initiated the meeting.
Hutnick said he is looking for money to help clean up and provide full, natural gas building generators for the fire department and first aid squad buildings. The grant money is available, Hutnick said, but the borough cannot obtain it because the governor did not declare a state of emergency for Ogdensburg during the last storm.
In light of the storm, Hutnick said, Ogdensburg needs a shelter – to which the fire department agrees, and he was going to ask the First Aid Squad to be another shelter on the other side of the borough. Currently, he said, Sussex Vocational Technical School is the only shelter available for the Ogdensburg area, and it is more dangerous to travel through a storm than to stay home.
Councilman Anthony Nasisi said depending on the definition of “shelter,” possibly a warming station would not need running water for showers.
“This had the potential to be worse than Sandy, (with the cold temperatures),” Nasisi said.
Hutnick said individuals with medical equipment or special needs are supposed to report the problem ahead of time to the police department.
Councilwoman Rachel Slater said in an emergency, people should first call 911.
Hutnick also said the building inspector advised, if electrical lines physically snapped off a house during the storm, home owners do not need to obtain a permit for electrical work. Because the homeowner is reconnecting lines to the house due to damage, he said, a licensed electrician should give a certified letter to the homeowner stating the house is safe to receive electric, and they completed the job properly. The letter acts as a guarantee.
Nardini also said, although Ogdensburg lost power last week, the borough generator functioned for the pumps, and water flowed through the system.
Hutnick said the town and residents held their own through the storm, and the council hopes to make life a bit easier and safer.
The council unanimously authorized the municipal building roof replacement project to Journey Contracting Co., for the amount of $19,248. Cruz abstained.
Nasisi said the Historical Building Steam boiler is completed, and they hope to remove the underground oil tanks next year.
Slater said the two grants they received for Plant Street and Passaic Ave. are only for milling and paving existing pavement, which is 20 years-old – no speed bumps, sidewalks, or quality of life. She said the grant approval amount for Plant St. was $223,000, and the engineers need to inform them of what can be completed with that amount of money.
Councilman John Cruz took the oath of office as an interim Ogdensburg council member. Cruz will fill former Councilman Peter Opilla’s remaining term through Dec. 31, 2020.