ADAMS -- A number of town projects left behind by Tropical Storm Irene are wrapping up -- ahead of schedule in some cases thanks to unseasonably mild weather. Now, says Department of Public Works Director Tom Satko, it's a matter of negotiating reimbursements with the federal government and waiting for funds to be transferred.
On Friday, workers put the finishing touches on what amounted to a $357,000 embankment repair across from the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum on East Road, while earlier this week, a nagging bump on the recently reopened East Road was smoothed over.
National Resources Conservation Services [NRCS] will reimburse the embankment project near the museum at 75 percent, while repairs to the culvert further along East Road are being reimbursed by the Federal Highway Administration at 80 percent.
However, when payments will be received and in what amount remain items for speculation. Satko said agencies are currently "overburdened" with communities seeking reimbursements for repaired damages caused by the same storm.
"It's slow going because they're busy," Satko said. "In this case, you have a lot of communities that were damaged and a lot of people making similar requests," Satko said. "We're all in the same boat. The contracts are signed, and they say we're going to get the money, so it's just a matter of time."
Satko said negotiations are still under way with both NRCS and the Federal Highway Administration to potentially adjust reimbursements to the total end cost of each project as opposed to the initial estimates, which were smaller amounts.
Earlier in the year, Massachusetts Department of Transportation representatives indicated that communities could expect reimbursements to arrive before budgets were stretched too far.
The town is also currently negotiating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the only remaining project related to the storm: rebuilding the Charles Street bridge. Satko said that project is estimated at $170,000, and the town is holding out for a better reimbursement package than what's been offered to this point.
For the time being, town officials are content to oversee the completion of the major work left behind by the storm. Town Administrator Jonathan Butler expressed optimism about the road forward.
"The town is pleased to see a couple of these looming projects from last fall back under construction," Butler said. "We anticipate having the damage and repairs from Tropical Storm Irene generally behind us by early summer."
To reach Phil Demers,