The last pieces of debris and final hanging branches are being cleared from Tolland this month, completing a massive clean up effort after across town.
And while the clean up (and resulting debris pile) were gigantic, the price tag is less so. Public Works Director Clem Langlois, Jr. said that as of early March, the town has spent $377,800, with an expected 75 percent refund from FEMA.
"Our estimate is going to be around $100,000 for the storm," he said.
Tolland could have faced a much higher storm cost if the town had hired contractors for the majority of the clean up, instead of doing most of the work in-house. Langlois said that one contractor estimated a potential cost of $2.5 million.
Nearby towns like Vernon had sky-high costs, amounting to . Towns like Stafford and Ellington that also focused on in-house clean up had similarly lower costs, paying $160,000 and $565,000 each.
Langlois said that some towns may have chosen contractors in order to clean up more quickly.
"From what I've heard, towns were scared we'd have a winter like last year," he said. Tolland had one corridor of hanging branches to cut down, as of early March.
Town employees cleared and loaded debris from the side of roads and town right of ways, meticulously documenting each truck load so that the town receives full FEMA reimbursement, Langlois said.
Contractors cut down the hanging tree branches, and Green Cycle from Ellington was hired to grind up the at . Around 16,000 cubic yards of debris were left after being ground up.
Beyond the town's effort, Tolland volunteers have also been crucial to the snowstorm clean up. Langlois said that the work of the 200 residents working on will be credited towards the remaining 25 percent that the town has to cover, chiseling the cost down further.
Town Manager Steven Werbner commended the hard work and innovation that the town has shown during such a difficult clean up process.
"Tolland should be proud of the volunteer effort it put forth to supplement town crews in handling the most recent past storm events," he said. "Communities our size in the area spent between three to ten times the amount we did on post storm clean up effort. It is only through the innovative efforts of town staff and programs such as “neighbor helping neighbor” that we were able to handle these tasks so efficiently. The way we addressed storm activities is really typical of the every day effort put forth by the town to provide public services in the most efficient and cost effective manner."
Check out the photo gallery above of clean up efforts, including Neighbor-Helping-Neighbor Day.