Updated 12/26/2011 05:43 PM
Comptroller: Last Year's Christmas Blizzard Cost City About $2M In Settlements
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The city is still paying the price for its sluggish response to the major blizzard from exactly one year ago, in the form of liability claims.
The City Comptroller's office says it has paid out nearly $2 million in liability claims so far, and there may be more to come.
The biggest settlement so far was $150,000 for a man who fell in an icy parking lot that was not shoveled properly by the city.
Another $100,000 thousand went to a Brooklyn cemetery where headstones were damaged by a falling fence after snow had been dumped against it.
In total, nearly 1,200 claims were filed.
Last year's storm dumped almost two feet of snow across the five boroughs and winds made snowdrifts even higher.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration were heavily criticized for their slow response to the storm.
It prompted a series of changes, including sanitation trucks getting GPS devices and the creation of teams monitor the city during the storms and report back to officials on conditions.
In Rego Park, Queens, some residents told NY1 that they thought city leaders learned from last year's mistakes, but other locals were doubtful.
"I understand that it's very hard to clean all of it, to go everywhere at once, but they do have to do their part. I guess they fought a little bit, but I hope this year will be much better," said one local. "I think it's going to be a long winter, because it's not cold yet. We have a long time to go."
"Bloomberg's looking at the bottom line and his legacy rather than long-term fixes," said another resident.
"Whether it was a communication infrastructure communication problem, or whether it was sheer incompetence, it's a little difficult to tell," said a third. "Clearly we haven't had a chance to see if the city's learned from its lessons last year."
Last year, mass transit came to a grinding halt and travelers trying to return from holiday trips were left stranded for days.
Garbage piled up around the city for a week as the Sanitation Department focused on the massive cleanup effort.