The city of Springfield has endured three federal emergency declarations this year, and cleanup costs are mounting. The mayor says he's still awaiting millions in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and he wants that money before snow starts falling again.
Residents of Springfield get a little nervous when the sky turns gray, and Mayor Domenic Sarno starts adding up numbers in his head.
"It's been unprecedented, what has occurred. We had a blizzard very early in January 2011, which cost me about 560 thousand dollars…"
That's pocket change… compared to the $23 million dollar price tag on cleanup after the June 1st tornadoes, Sarno says. He expects the total restoration costs from the tornados to exceed $100 million, including replacing three elementary schools and the South End Community Center.
And Sarno says debris removal from the October Nor'easter will cost about $20 million. So far the city has only received about $250 thousand dollars from FEMA, and that was to cover the January storm, according to Sarno.
"These painful and very tedious negotiations with FEMA and reports, waiting for reimbursement. Because as of yet we have not seen a dime from these two – the tornado and this recent freak Nor'easter."
Meantime the city has dipped into its budget reserve fund to pay for the cleanups. FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Landry says his agency will distribute about 26 million dollars to the city in reimbursement money for the tornadoes, but there's no deadline for that check yet.