The Westfield Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, was opened by comments from Mayor Andy Skibitsky on respect for the memories of those who have lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Sandy followed by a moment of silence in their honor.
It was also announced that the Martin Wallberg Post Three of the American Legion will host a Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 11:45 a.m. Veterans are encouraged to meet in front of Lord and Taylor and march to the World War I memorial. The public ceremony will begin at noon at the island at the intersection of East Broad Street and North Avenue.
The mayor expressed his concern and understanding for those who are still without power due to the storm and verified that PSE&G is working tirelessly to restore it. After the storm hit, 12,418 Westfield homes and businesses were out of power, a number which has now been reduced to 693. Skibitsky said he toured the town Tuesday afternoon to see the damage and counted at least 25 PSE&G trucks out on the streets. He stressed that for those who still do not have power, even if they have already contacted PSE&G, to contact them again at 800-436-7734.
He assured Westfielders that he and town officials will continue to pressure PSE&G to get the town up and running as soon as possible.
For those who have sustained damage to their homes, they may be eligible for disaster relief. Information on this can be found at disasterassistance.gov or by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA, or by accessing m.fema.gov
The Town is in the process of curbside cleanup; they will be collecting branches and twigs in piles on the curbside. Trees removed by private contractors will not be picked up by the town if they are put in the street. Contractors should take these trees to appropriate locations of disposal.
The Westfield United Fund has created a Sandy Relief fund to help the families with needs not covered by disaster relief or FEMA. Thirteen homes in Westfield have been rendered uninhabitable, a number which is increasing. Additionally, seventy-three homes will need extensive repairs and fourteen detached garages were destroyed. Donations to the fund are welcome. Checks can be made to Westfield United Fund, Sandy Relief, and can be mailed to the Westfield United Fund at 301 North Avenue West. More information can be found at westfieldunitedfund.org or by calling 233-2113.
Skibitsky strongly encouraged Westfield citizens to follow the town on Twitter to be kept updated on the storm and future events and emergencies, should they occur. He also noted that many Westfield businesses were out of power for quite some time, resulting in an economic downfall. Thus it would be much appreciated if Westfielders could shop in Westfield before other locations, if at all possible.
The police force, fire department, and volunteer rescue squad played a large role in securing the safety of Westfield’s citizens throughout the storm, and the mayor thanked them for the effort and long hours “in terrible and dangerous conditions.”
Two Westfield residents thanked the mayor and the town’s public services for their service to the town and all that they did during the storm for the benefit of its residents.
All ordinances and resolutions were carried.