Residents praise Huntington response to Sandy

Huntington Town Hall Huntington Town Hall Photo Credit: Alexi Knock

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Good job, Huntington.

That was the consensus of about a dozen residents who shared their opinions on the town's response to superstorm Sandy at a public hearing before the town board.

Residents Tuesday night mostly offered kudos about the performance of town officials and the highway department and suggestions to improve the response in the future. Highway Superintendent William Naughton pointed out the combined efforts across the town and how well-prepared his office was with ample generators, fuel for town-owned vehicles and two-way radios.

"I never thought I would be in office for one of those major storms," Naughton said. "I hope it's the last one we have, but we have some hard questions because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for us."

But residents, town board members and highway department officials all had harsh words for the Long Island Power Authority, saying communication protocols need to be updated as well as staffing to supplement town workers. Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said it's time to seriously consider placing power lines underground to stop wasting taxpayer money "doing and then redoing" downed power lines.

Town board member Mark Cuthbertson, who called for the hearing, said he thought it was a success.

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"We got some good suggestions from residents and good feedback from the highway department about when certain things are going to be done and how large this storm was, in terms of order of magnitude of other storms," Cuthbertson said.

The board also voted unanimously to create a Hurricane Sandy Emergency Review Task Force to assess the town's preparation and response to Sandy. It will also make recommendations about changes that should be made as the town plans for the next storm.

Town board member Mark Mayoka, who said the task force was his idea and that Petrone usurped his idea to create it and sponsor the resolution, said he is glad taxpayers will benefit.

"The bottom line is helping the residents," Mayoka said. "I would have liked to have sponsored it, but that's not how it went."

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