AFTER LOCAL CONTRACTOR DEFAULTS ON AMHERST TREE REMOVAL, SCHUMER & CLINTON URGE FEMA TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR TOWN TO COMPLETE PROJECT
Town Unavoidably Forced to Delay Work on Project to Find New Contractor - Now 500 Trees Behind Schedule
Schumer, Clinton Push FEMA for 60-Day Extension On Tree Removal Deadline
Without Last-Minute Extension, Town Will Be Forced To Shoulder All Remaining Costs
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After a local contractor defaulted on its contract, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant a 60day extension to the Town of Amherst for removing thousands of trees that suffered damage in the surprise snowstorm of October 2006. The Town of Amherst has been urgently working to remove the trees since the surprise October storm but after the contractor defaulted they were forced to find a new contractor, necessarily prolonging the project.
"FEMA should work with the Town of Amherst in light of unavoidable delays to this muchneeded project," Schumer said. "If this deadline extension isn't granted, the town and local taxpayers will be hit with an expensive bill. Removing these trees is necessary and important, and we will see this project through to the end."
"While local leaders and Amherst officials have been working diligently to recover from the 2006 snow storm, new circumstances beyond their control has caused a major roadblock on the road to completion," said Senator Clinton. "I urge FEMA to grant this short extension to give the Town the time it needs to resume their work of removing the damaged trees."
The town of Amherst was urgently working over the past 2 years to remove 5,000 trees damaged by the freak October 2006 snowstorm in Western New York. However, a default by the contractor unavoidably delayed the project. The town quickly found a new contractor and work is expected to begin again over the next two weeks. Due to the unavoidable delay, the Town of Amherst is requesting a 60day extension from FEMA for its reimbursement application.
Today, in an effort to help the community get reimbursed for the safe removal of the damaged trees, Senators Schumer and Clinton wrote a personal letter to FEMA Administrator David Paulison urging the agency to grant the extension.
Below is a full copy of the letter:
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Honorable R. David Paulison
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W.
Washington, D.C 20472
Dear Administrator Paulison,
We write today to request that the deadline for reimbursement for the Town of Amherst's removal of damaged trees be extended to end of December 2008. Amherst officials have been working with great urgency to safely remove damaged trees but due to a default by a local contractor, the town is in a difficult situation and must complete a new rebidding process, which will necessarily prolong the project.
In October 2006, Western New York was dealt a crushing blow when a blizzard wreaked havoc on the region, leaving thousands of trees damaged in its wake, particularly in Buffalo and Amherst. The Town of Amherst, known for its beautiful parks and lushlyplanted streets, has made steady progress on tree removal thus far, but due to the default by the current contractor they are approximately 500 trees behind schedule. Since the default by the contractor was out of the control of the Town and was truly an unforeseen circumstance, granting them the additional time seems reasonable and appropriate.
We write to you again today, to call on FEMA to extend the deadline for another 60 days, in order to allow the town the time to secure a new contractor and clear the backlog of tree removals and complete the job.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator