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Brown: Efforts shows how government can work

Date: 7/5/2011

July 6, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — It was Sen. Scott Brown’s second trip to the Maple High Six Corners neighborhood on July 1 and he said the progress toward recovery is an example of how government should work.

Standing in front of the Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School on Hancock Street that was damaged during the June 1 tornado, he said, “This is how good government works, bipartisan and bicameral, to solve problems.”

With media trailing him, Brown walked down Clark, Spruce, Beech and Central streets with Mayor Domenic Sarno and School Committee member Antonette Pepe greeting residents and looking at the destruction left by the tornado.

Brown urged people to consider making donations to the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross to help those organizations regain some of the funding it has used in reaction to the tornado.

The senator said he supported the move by the Obama Administration to release $3 million to help create temporary jobs in the Bay State as part of the tornado relief.

“Everything we have done here is getting a good value for our dollars,” Brown said of recovery efforts.

He couldn’t estimate an over-all cost to the clean-up and re-building efforts and said he believed it will “be a good year before we can tell.”

Brown praised Sarno and said, “The mayor and his team have really done a good job.”

Brown’s visit followed an announcement that the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission would be offering free turn off and turn on service to tornado victims beginning to re-build.

Springfield Water and Sewer Commission Spokeswoman Kathy Pedersen explained at a press conference on June 30 that homeowners who place a trailer on a lot for use as temporary residential housing would receive free water and sewer use until June 30, 2012 and they are eligible for the free water and sewer use to the trailer from the time it is placed. The temporary water and sewer services are active until the trailer is removed and those services are discontinued or up until June 30, 2012.

In addition, the $75 turn-on and shut-off fees for tornado-damaged homes that are incurred during the rebuilding period will be waived. The fees will be initially recorded on accounts and then abated in order to track work performed at the property.

Pedersen said there are presently 10 homes with trailers and she expects two more to be used in the immediate future. With 220 condemned properties in the city, she anticipated more homeowners may use this service as they re-build.

Homeowners should contact the Inspectional Services Division at 787-6031 for information about placing trailers on lots prior to contacting the Water and Sewer Commission at 787-6206 for water and sewer information.

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