Only about 75 percent of Montville residents were with power Wednesday and a winter storm seemed daunting to many. But Montville Mayor Tim Braden said the township was prepared to take on whatever weather the storm might bring.
"We're not taking this storm mildly," Braden said, as Department of Public Works crews began loading trucks with salt and prepping plows early Wednesday morning. "We are prepared to deal with this as if it's a major winter storm."
As Braden spoke, nearly a dozen residents found warmth and power outlets at the the new location for comfort and shelter the township has staffed. The shelter was planning to close for the night Wednesday.
"The plan is to close at 10 p.m. as a warming center, unless the need [to stay overnight] arises," Nancy Mertz, who works in the township's social services department and has been helping run the shelter, said.
Braden said the storm was not expected to affect continuing JCP&L power restoration efforts in the township and that the linemen are able to work in the bucket trucks until winds reach 40 mph. Sections of town near the Lake Valhalla community and Taylortown Road area had not yet seen power restored since Tropical Storm Sandy caused outages beginning on Oct. 29.
For the past week, township DPW crews have been continuing to clear roadways of trees and wires. Braden said prior to Wednesday, the roads were inventoried again and determined to be passable, particularly if plow trucks needed to get through.
"We will do our best to plow all the roads," Braden said.
As for Wednesday's storm, Braden said that the township was planning for the worst. He said Wednesday's storm had particularly bad timing as township employees from the DPW and police department have been working long hours with little rest. The employees have "been taxed," Braden said, working for 10 days dealing with storm-related issues from Sandy. This has amounted to countless hours of overtime.
But Braden said he greatly appreciates the work of the employees and that he is hopeful that the employees soon have a chance to get some rest.