Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
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Is There A Paper Trail?

Except for a few, the cherry and Bradford pear trees along Shelter Rock and Searingtown roads are gone. Stumps line the roadways and the community is seeking honest answers as to who is responsible. Did the contractor independently decide which trees were to be removed? Or were their representatives instructed by someone at the county level? Were healthy trees removed for profit, or were diseased trees removed out of necessity? There is a trail of stumps; is there a paper trail?

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos has indicated that the county has a contract with Looks Great Tree Services Inc. for pruning that the company won over three other bids in August 2011.

Furthermore, the comptroller’s office provided information stating that after “Superstorm Sandy devastated Nassau County, Nassau County Department of Public Works, in accordance with the County Charter, activated an emergency contract with Looks Great Tree Service based on the existing tree pruning contract which also provides for debris removal.”

The contract states the vendor is paid based on the diameter of the tree or limbs removed and cubic yard on disposal with a mileage factor. One category of the e-ticket system is “debris type (why tree was cut)” and, since the comptroller’s office indicated the county used the DebrisTech e-ticket system approved by FEMA on each tree cut during the storm, there should be a paper trail.  Another category states “independent monitor typed name and signature (either county employee or independent contractor)” for each tree cut down.

Additionally, the e-ticket system, according to the comptroller’s office, requires: ticket number; truck number; a picture of the tree or limb to be removed; truck owner transporting the tree; tree size; time tree was removed and location of tree (longitude and latitude coordinates). All claims, the comptroller’s spokesperson indicated, have DebrisTech tickets as support.

The information on costs to prune, remove, etc. follows:   

The work and documentation to be performed will consist of furnishing all labor, materials, and equipment to accomplish the following types of tasks in the event of a scale disaster that results in an emergency declaration:

Cutting, clearing, and/or removing disaster related debris from the public right-of-way, streets, roads, canals, lakes, ponds and all other public properties or rights-of-way;

Management and performance of most cost effective, permittable debris segregation and reduction method(s);

As directed, demolition and removal of condemned structures, buildings and other debris that poses a threat to public health or safety that are related to and resulting from the disaster event;

Tree trimming, tree topping, tree removal, stump grinding, grubbing, clearing, hauling and disposal;

Removal of sand from roads, streets, rights-of-way; screening sand and returning clean sand to beaches or other designated sites;

Recovery and destruction of dead fish, animals and livestock;

Provide Project Management assistance to designated government staff in conducting damage assessments, in estimating quantity of debris, and completion of damage survey reports; Provide Project Management assistance through assisting in conducting kick-off meetings to ensure understanding of program policies and requirements;

Provide Project Management assistance by providing coordination as needed with the local government, state agencies, Federal agencies, contractors and landowners;

Identify required/needed changes to the scope contained in individual Project Worksheets and assist the government in negotiating changes with appropriate agencies;

Project scheduling and status/progress reporting;

Review all contractor documentation for consistency, compliance and completeness and require corrections as appropriate before submitting for payment.

The Contract Price List provided was extensive and detailed. A sampling of services follows:

Item Number - Unit - Rate

Debris Hauling up to a 7 mile one way haul: Cubic Yard $22.00

Temporary Debris Separation, Reduction and Site Management: Cubic Yard $7.75

Debris Disposal Up to a 15 mile one way haul – excluding tipping fees: Cubic Yard Debris Disposal

116-130 mile one way haul:  Cubic Yard $155.45

Hazardous Stump Removal – up to but less 8 inch diameter: Each $25.40

Hazardous Stump Removal – 8 inch diameter and up, but less than 12 inches: Each $76.19

Hazardous Stump Removal – 12 inch diameter and up, but less than 24 inches: Each $435.38

Hazardous Stump Removal – 24 inch diameter and up, but less than 48 inches: Each $902.68

Hazardous Stump Removal – equal to or greater than 48 inch diameter: Each $1,676.20

MOT Traffic Control Crew: Hour $225.00

30-Ton or smaller Crane: Hour $205.00

Stump Grinder: Hour  $167.62

John Deere 544 or equivalent: Hour $148.75

Bobcat Loader or equivalent: Hour $66.00

15-24 Cubic Yard Dump Truck: Hour $66.03

754 Cubic Yard Dump Truck: Hour $180.85

Equipment Operator: Hour $90.35

Truck Driver: Hour $90.35

Project Manager w/Truck: Hour $126.51

Pruning of Hazardous Limbs (Trees Trim), on R.O.W.: Each $225

Tree Removal – up to 10 inch diameter, on R.O.W.: Each $192.29

Tree Removal – greater than 20 inch diameter and up to 24 inches,  placed on R.O.W.: Each $838.42

Tree Removal – greater than 48 inch diameter and up to 56 inches, on R.O.W. Each: $3,769.08

Tree Removal – greater than 56 inch diameter And up, on R.O.W.: Each $4,692.07

Other combinations of service provider and equipment are listed along with the varying hourly rates (rounded up). For example:

Foreman w/Truck-$76

Safety Superintendent-$76

Operator w/Chainsaw-$99

Traffic Control Personnel-$69

Inspector w/Vehicle-$70

Laborers-$84

Project Manager-$116

Field Coordinator-$96

Field Inspector/Debris Monitor-$86

Project Administrator-$86

Clerical Assistant-$47

If the county used the DebrisTech e-ticket system approved by FEMA on each tree cut during the storm so maximum reimbursement could be obtained from FEMA, as they have indicated they did, who monitored them?

So many trees were not felled in one day. Who monitored them?