The Springfield Township Committee, municipal officials and volunteers are distributing the following bulletin throughout Springfield. Information will posted on the Township website at http://www.springfield-nj.us and my personal website at http://411.shehady.us
Springfield officials and FEMA representatives visited with residents around town to inventory the damage and assist with obtaining the required resources for our community. Township leaders hold daily meetings at the Emergency Operations Center with critical officials to identify needs of residents and businesses.
Even with all the pressure on the utility companies by every elected official, Jersey Central Power & Light estimates all power to be restored by at least Wednesday, November 7 with harder hit areas needing additional time. Additional crews from around the nation have been dispatched to help the effort and they have been working on Springfield. Despite our efforts to coordinate an orderly restoration with JCP&L, the large and varied amount of damage makes this difficult so restoration to any particular areas does not appear to be based on any priority or location. No area is intentionally being neglected or preferred - utilities are first working on larger power distribution infrastructure where more damage was sustained to restore as much electricity to the largest pockets of customers before working on more local infrastructure. As a result, power to Springfield is slowly returning but the service is intermittent and fluctuates as work is being done. It may still drop, some phases may not yet be repaired and circuits may be de-energized to make further repairs. Mayor Shehady has been making repeated persistent requests for more location-specific information but it is still not being provided by the utility so we are unable to tell residents or businesses where power has returned and when it will be available for their location. The Township does not serve the electricity but as advocates for the residents and businesses, we are exhausting all options. In order to make sure all outages are responded to, please continue to individual report power interruptions to JCP&L (1-888-LIGHTSS). As soon as more details are provided, they will be announced.
- Municipal offices will open Monday, November 5th on a limited basis. The Building Department will be open and ready to accept permit requests. Fees for all storm-related permits are waived. Any restaurant that has power can reopen and our Health Department will catch up on inspections today & early tomorrow.
- Springfield Public Schools are not yet fully operational but the decision to open or close remains in the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Schools – the schedule will be announced through the ordinary channels for parents and students.
- There are still many downed lines and trees. As the utility infrastructure is slowly repaired, the risks and dangers of potential live wires remain. Safety is of the utmost concern so Halloween activities are still suspended – a date for coordinated Halloween festivities will be announced.
- The Department of Public Works continues to remove downed trees in the right-of-way and is collecting storm debris and cleaning streets. They are not able to work where utility lines are involved, however, JCP&L has been notified of these problems.
- Two Community Recharge & Warming Stations are available at the Sarah Bailey Civic Center (30 Church Mall off Morris Avenue) and at the First Aid Squad (10 North Trivett). The Sarah Bailey Civic Center will also be used as an information center and is available for all residents as an overnight shelter in light of the dropping evening temperatures. Please consider utilizing this valuable resource but you will need to arrive no later than 10:30 p.m. Because there are still widespread outrages and colder temperatures, we are prepared to open the Chisholm Community Center if there is still a need for overnight accommodations. We are also able to obtain meals for anyone in need.
- Free ice and water is available at the Springfield Municipal Pool (on Morrison Road) during daytime. Please check up on the needs of friends and neighbors.
- Property tax payments due date has been extended to November 20th.
- Regularly scheduled garbage collection will resume effective Monday, November 5th.
- Elections will occur on Tuesday, November 6th in Springfield, either at your normal polling place or in the vicinity. The Secretary of State is rolling out directives to support elections. The Union County Clerk will open offices in Elizabeth and Westfield on Saturday, November 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday, November 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for voters seeking last-minute Vote-By-Mail ballots. The office in Elizabeth at the Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Room 113, and the office in Westfield at 300 North Avenue East, will be open as a public service for those voters who choose the Vote-By-Mail option. Voter information is also available by calling 1-877-NJVOTER.
- Individuals who are interested in volunteering to assist in recovery efforts, please call Geri Bujnowski (908-370-2318) or Deputy Mayor Jerry Fernandez (908-868-0898).
- Any non-emergency issues should be reported to the Police Department by calling 973-376-0400.
- If appropriate, register with FEMA Disaster Recovery at 1-800-621-FEMA or www.disasterassistance.gov.
- The State Disaster Mental Health Hotline has been established; please call 877-294-4357. For any Public Health questions, please call 2-1-1.
The Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Scott Seidel and Deputy Coordinator Wally Schultz and Mayor Ziad Andrew Shehady are available by calling 973-376-1082.
Visit the Township’s website at www.springfield-nj.us for updated information and more resources.