Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Blame Our Town Leaders!

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In his latest opinion column in the Longmeadow News Alex Grant contends that our town leaders did a disservice to our town because they acted too quickly with a disregard to ultimate costs. Given the widespread storm damage and need for extensive cleanup in Longmeadow as well as most other towns in Western Mass and a large portion of CT, I believe that our town leaders made a good decision.

I've looked at the latest cleanup costs and have taken a different prospective from Mr. Grant...

If Longmeadow had not acted quickly to hire AshBritt Inc., the cleanup process would likely have taken much longer and be extended into the springtime.  What a mess that would be if the coming winter season is anything like last year!

AshBritt Environmental is a national turn key rapid-response disaster recovery contractor (from their website). They provide fast track logistics and contracted deployable resources for cleanup situations just like what we have experienced.  There are not many companies with this capability in the Northeastern US.

I believe that not only is AshBritt the only contractor approved by FEMA, it is the only MA state approved vendor that can be hired without using the formal bid process which can take up to one month.

If you take a closer look at the disposal costs as Mr. Grant has done, it might sound like the cost is too high.  However, here is my analysis....

Assume that the volume for the average debris pickup truck is ~ 60 cubic yards.  With the total debris volume now estimated at 275,000 cubic yards, each truckload costs the town ~ $1900 for disposal.

With a total estimated cost of $11.9 million and Longmeadow's share after reimbursement of $2.5 million, this translates to a final cost ~ $500/ property owner.

The state of MA and FEMA should work with AshBritt and other companies interested in this business to make this process more competitive and cost effective.

Just don't blame our town leaders for making a hasty decision.  They made the right decision!

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