Dear Montebello Residents:
It has been a trying and exhausting week for all our residents who have had no electric, internet and communications for their homes as well as having streets blocked off from down trees and wires. The storm has run havoc on both our community as well as our county and state.
We have been in constant contact with our local government officials and Orange and Rockland as well as participating in conference calls each day. By far it has been an uphill battle for us and all around us.
Orange and Rockland has insisted that they are trying their best, however, it may seem differently from those in our community. Multiple officials have called for an investigation as to why things take so long and why they were not better prepared. We have concluded that the impression the information on their website was insufficient and sketchy at best. There are multiple steps before a repair of an outage including: having someone standing at a down tree and wire site and warning cars the area is closed, calling in an evaluation team, calling in a tree cleaning team, calling in a wire cleanup team, and calling Cable or Verizon that they are needed on the site all before a repair starts.
I have complained on the daily conference calls that Montebello always seems to be last in getting things repaired and that history keeps repeating itself. Orange and Rockland told us that they didn’t know about certain outages and we proved to them they did know, and they simply failed to act. We had excellent support from the Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht and Police Chief Brad Wiedel. Police Chief Wiedel also personally called in situations for our village.
Our Deputy Mayor relentlessly pursued Orange and Rockland staying on top of them day and night correcting and updating them. Our Trustees and Village professionals toured the Village gathering and reporting as much information as possible. Our Village Hall Staff has been fielding calls and complaints passing the information on to the proper authorities.
Unfortunately, although most of our 1300 households that were without power have been restored, we still have approximately 20 or so homes remaining with no power. We are still working hard to assure everyone that no one home will be forgotten.
With appreciation, we have worked together with the Town of Ramapo to make sure that cooling centers are open to all our residents and that water and charging stations are available. Our Village is not as equipped as the Town for these situations and a decision was made to continue using the town.
Please also be aware that Orange and Rockland’s website www.oru.com facilitates the filing of claims for individuals and businesses for those who have lost power for more than 48 hours to recover some costs for spoiled food and medications. I recommend that you go online and file as soon as you can.
Multiple crises serve to emphasize how important it is for the village to have access to all their residents including email access. The Village needs to also have an accurate list of homes who only use well water for this will identify residents who do not have water during a power failure crisis. To date we only have 60 emails on file for our 1700 homes. We have constantly tried in the past to obtain this information with little outcome. Rest assured this will be only used to update you with important information that you need to know on a timely basis.
Please access our site at www.villageofmontebello.org for Village information and updates and sign up to give us your information.
Please know that as difficult as matters may seem, behind the scenes myself, your Trustees and Village Hall staff have worked relentlessly to help remedy the crisis.
Lance Millman, Mayor