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A Year After Blizzard, Lessons Learned in Brick

Township should be more prepared now thanks to committee, purchases

A year later, and the numbers are still staggering:

  • 34 inches of snow
  • $1.4 million in cleanup costs
  • 49 out of Brick Township’s 72 trucks stuck in the snow
  • 11 ambulances stuck in snow drifts
  • 29,000 calls to town hall

The blizzard that during the late afternoon hours Dec. 26, 2010 was one for the books. The storm lasted until late morning the following day, and most Brick residents hadn't been able to leave their homes for several more days.

The township began its snow removal operation before the flakes began falling, Dec. 26, at 2 a.m. Trucks dispatched from the public works facility on Ridge Road began salting and pouring brine solution on township roads, and plows were out by late afternoon that same day. However, at 11 p.m. on Dec. 26, plows were called back after white-out conditions began causing a number of plow trucks to .

No pieces of equipment were spared. A tandem dump truck became stuck about 100 yards from the Ridge Road facility, Councilman Michael Thulen said after the storm. Officials sent a vehicle designed to retrieve disabled Army tanks to remove the tandem, but the retrieval vehicle blew its transmission during the towing operation.

At one point or another during the storm, 49 out of the township’s 72 trucks were stuck in the snow or otherwise disabled in some way, Thulen said at the time.

The township was plagued by mishaps during the snow removal operation, including reports that contractors called in to supplement municipal crews left Brick because they were to be paid more money for their services in neighboring towns. In the end, out-of-state crews were brought in to make township streets passable again, but not before residents were about what they saw as a too-slow response despite the storm's historic power.

A year later, there have been some changes.

A committee the week after the storm made some recommendations. The township is now maintaining a list of about 100 streets for prioritized plowing in order to free up routes out of neighborhoods. An emergency call center based out of the township municipal complex will field calls from residents during storms, and the township is maintaining a list of contractors that are held on standby to help public works crews remove snow.

Additionally, the township purchased two – one will be stationed on each side of town during storms – which will supplement a Hummer ambulance at the Dover-Brick EMS on the barrier island.

The communications solution that came out of the committee was during Hurricane Irene, when police officers and officials remained stationed at the to field calls from residents and manage personnel.

"We learned a lot," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, when contacted by Brick Patch earlier this week. "A lot of it is about talking to people and communicating with people."

Surely, for many Brick residents who'd rather go back to those many snow-free winters of yesteryear at the Jersey Shore, there's just one solutiuon: think spring.

Jim December 30, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Princeton Ave was open on Tuesday after the storm. The side streets were plowed by friends of friends and in my case my hand. Acroplis is an incopentent piece of garbage. What has that guy accomplished in life? We are supposed to expect him to lead our town? That doesn't say much for the Democratic cronies we have in there now. One is a 32 year old bankrupt commie from UC Berkeley. What has she done with her life? She is supposed to lead us? For Christ sake. Someone with some spare time step up. Audit the books and step up. I guarantee you will win.
clamdigger December 30, 2011 at 03:24 AM
hello Mr.Pezarras, I thought we operated under the law that states we are not permitted to carry a surplus or establish a "slush fund/emergency fund". I thought we had a "use it or lose it" type law especially if we receive state funds in any way. if I'm wrong,I'm wrong but I thought this was something which was established long ago. Can you elaborate on the emergency fund and if I'm off base? Thanks.
Scott Pezarras December 30, 2011 at 05:00 AM
Clam You are thinking of S-1701 which pertains to schools. They must not carry more than a 2% of operating budget as a surplus balance. Municipalities do not have this restriction, as you go through an operating year you acquire cash and cashflow, through tax collections, misc. revenues, and by the end of an operating year you could have excess revenues anticipated in your budget. This is what regenerates surplus to utilize in the following years budget. Call me and I will be happy to explain this further. You can remain anonymous, just leave a call back number if I am unavailable. My number is 732-262-1050.
BW December 30, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Princeton and the other county roads on this end of town, where ALL open and plowed with in 24 hours. Have to love it, one year later and Acropolis is STILL trying to do damage control, right Scott. Remeber Bellu said we do not need a slush fund because "there are no emergencies in the forseeable future". Just once I would like to see this admin stand up and "we are sorry we screwed up"
Concerned Brick Citizen December 30, 2011 at 05:33 PM
My understanding was that the state and county roads were passible within 24 hours after the storm. I found it unacceptable that my street which is a through road with plenty of room to pile snow wasn’t touched till day three. Technically after the state/county roads, my street would be considered secondary and not tertiary. We should have had at least one pass by day two to allow us egress. The big problem which still needs to be addressed are cars parked on the street. Ticket them… No excuses! In my neighborhood Breton Woods 95 percent or better can park their vehicles off street on their property. Why they park in the street is beyond me. I would be afraid of damage. For those slim few who don’t have off street access, there are other alternatives: Neighbors, friends, property owner’s assoc. parking lot and local businesses. People here are lazy or spoiled. When I lived in another city, I had to park my vehicle blocks away or I would have been ticketed and/or towed.

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