SHICKSHINNY — Melissa Weber, former borough secretary-treasurer, at a meeting Thursday morning clarified some issues about the prevailing flood relief program that had produced some wrangling at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Although she was described as such, Weber said she is not the agent between the borough and federal and state relief agencies; councilmen Barry Noss and Mike Steeber have that role. As the former secretary-treasurer, she handled the paperwork and the administrative affairs between the state and federal emergency management agencies.
With council officials Steeber, Rosalie Whitebread and Mayor Beverly Moore in attendance, as well as Tom Hughes of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Weber reviewed the files of what were classified as “small” and “major” projects that have been executed so far. The small include restoration of recreational and neighborhood areas, while the major encompass a general communitywide cleanup of flood debris and the refurbishment of the borough building.
Overall, according to a tabulation of payments, more than $230,000 has been paid to Smart Recycling for cleanup and $76,000 to Evergreen Land Services.
Interior physical repairs to the borough building so far have exceeded $100,000.
Another area of discussion centered on an unpaid invoice submitted by Cowbell Consulting LLC, of Longwood, Fla., the firm that was retained immediately after the 2011 flood to provide professional services in dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Although it was never stated officially, Cowbell, reportedly, was invited into the community by Mayor Moore.
It was noted by Weber that Cowbell’s invoice of $21,136.99 remains open because the charges for services don’t correspond to the work sheets submitted to the borough. Attempts have been made to communicate with Cowbell officials, but they have been unsuccessful, Weber said.
Initially, a Cowbell official said his firm would be compensated solely through a percentage of the total relief funds forthcoming from FEMA.
Overall, Hughes said the major role of PEMA remains with the damaged neighborhood properties, 25 of which, according to recent comments at council meetings, are scheduled for demolition.
“It’s still early in the game,” Hughes said. He added the agency’s focus remains on public assistance.