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Better Safe Than Sorry? Many Hidden 'Costs' To Preparing For Storm

Road crews out on Route 127 near Bryant Avenue in White Plains. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
The Nor'easter dropped inches instead of its predicted feet of snow on Tuesday. Photo Credit: file photo
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner at a town board meeting. Town Hall was closed in anticipation of Blizzard Juno on Tuesday. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Some public officials think advance precautions for the Nor'easter -- the potentially "historic blizzard'' that actually wasn't -- were wise.

But others remain cognizant of the costs involved in shutting down schools, libraries and municipal buildings in anticipation of major snowstorms that sometimes create excessive anxiety and disruption before fizzling out.

Town and village halls, as well as schools, were closed throughout Weschester, Putnam and Fairfield counties on Tuesday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and most towns declared "states of emergency."  The declarations came as the National Weather Service forecast 12 to 24 inches of snow with a high degree of certainty.

"We definitely over prepared for the storm. But, there was  a cost to the over preparation,'' said Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner. "For the first time in recent town history, we closed down Town Hall and did not require non-essential employees to show up for work.

"We thought it would be unsafe to make people come to work and advised them yesterday since everyone was predicting the blizzard of a lifetime."

In retrospect, Feiner said, he is not sure that was a good decision.

"People who want to take advantage of town services programs were not able to do so today," Feiner said Tuesday. "And now some people are upset that when they call Town Hall no one answers.

"Businesses also suffered significant losses,'' Feiner added. "New York state was basically shut down today, with most people staying home. Today's storm was good news for people who don't like their jobs, who don't like school and who don't like the ramifications of a blizzard -- but it was bad news for the economy."

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