Town completes cleanup from tornado

Debris from the tornado in May is piled in a yard along Burton Road on Aug. 8. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — The town completed the cleanup from the tornado in May without the need to use contingency funds.

During last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the cleanup cost, including overtime costs for police and public works employees and disposing of large logs, came to about $293,000.

In July, voters approved spending up to $300,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance for the cleanup, which included hauling away debris, tree cutting and removing hanging limbs. The town subsequently hired Supreme Industries Inc. out of Harwinton to do the work.

In August, the board approved transferring an additional $19,999 from contingency for the cleanup.

“We wanted to make sure we had sufficient funds on hand so Supreme Industries, while we still had them on the ground here, was able to complete all the work they were able to do and not run short of funding,” Bielik said.

Since the additional funds weren’t used, they were placed back into the contingency fund in the town’s operating budget.

Bielik said there is still tree work to be done to reopen Matthies Park, curbing to repair, and guardrails to replace. This work is expected to cost about $15,000, Bielik said, but the public works department should be able to handle it, and the cost will be covered in the town’s operating budget.

Bielik said the town wrapped up the cleanup by making one more pass through all the roads and disposing of any final piles of brush from the storm.

“We made one pass through town and took stuff away. If stuff reappeared, that is outside the scope we are doing,” Bielik said.

During the final pass, Bielik said the public works crew didn’t collect piles of freshly cut branches since it was obvious they weren’t from the tornado.