We hope that everyone who is reading this has power and is safe at home but unfortunately, we know that is not the case. We want to start by saying we know how hard this is for those of you who were without power for a long period of time. We know of areas in Hartsdale that are still not sure when service will be restored. It has now been over a week since the storm and we thought it was time to address the overall response by the town.
First, the good. After the damaging windstorm of 3/2, the 3/7 snowstorm lived up to predictions and hit Hartsdale with a second wave of tough winter conditions. The consensus that we’ve seen is that the town did its usual excellent job of plowing and clearing streets. Greenburgh residents have high expectations for snow response, and by all accounts, those were met. There were some road closures, but sanitation service was not interrupted. In addition, over the past week, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner has sent numerous updates via email and social media and was his usual accessible self throughout the week.
Now, the not so good. Supervisor Feiner may have been “out there,” but he was not providing the details that we at Hartsdale Neighbors Association expected to hear. For several days, Mr. Feiner extolled how residents were contacting him to report power outages, and that he was working on behalf of Greenburgh residents, advocating to Con Ed for increased attention. By mid-week however it became clear that Hartsdale residents could not predict when service would be restored, and town officials could do little to help. By mid-week, when public frustration with Con Ed started to boil over, Mr. Feiner quickly pivoted from suggesting his influence with Con Ed to distancing himself from the utility and suggesting that residents demand compensation and consider a class action suit.
The exact timing of major storms may be uncertain but their recurrence every few years is not. Everything that happened in the past week was experienced during Super Storm Sandy in October 2012. As explained above, Town leadership does not have any particular control over Con Ed. However, the Town does have the capability to plan for major weather events and to a certain degree, limit their impact. Many people may be surprised to know that Greenburgh has a full time Tree Trimmer and full time Arborist. There are over 30 full time employees in the Highway General Repairs division. The town has been eager to call out ConEd and demand an accounting of their actions. We call for the Town to be held accountable as well. What is the Town’s program to remove trees on Town right of ways that endanger power lines? Can the town provide details of the work that has been done in the 5+ years since Sandy to mitigate the impact of storms? Has the town learned any lessons? We think Hartsdale residents deserve to know. Don’t you?
Hartsdale Neighbors Association
Town response to March storms