Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Live reporting - snow removal

– DPW Snowplowing/Sidewalks

1st priority for roads for public safety (fire, police, etc.)
2nd priority public buildings/school buildings
3rd priority sidewalks

School policy on snow days posted to School website and Town website

There are snow blower type units for heavy snow removal from the sidewalks
There are plow oriented units for lesser amounts of snow removal

over 35 miles of sidewalks to clear

if less than 6 inches, with the plows, the sidewalks can be cleared in about one day
if more than 6 inches, with the snow blowers, it would take 2-3 days to clear the sidewalks

About $158,000 to cover one storm

Each machine would cost about $120,000 to purchase (snow blower type unit)

Deployment of staff (collective bargaining issues) - all in-house staff should be working at the same time with the contractors

You (Town Council) could require the residents to clear the snow in-front of their property.

Continue to educate the public on the snow removal plan, each year we go through this with the first storm.

Picture of Brook St with sidewalk cleared and student still walking on the road (12/22/09).

Mason - this came about as a result of a call from a resident on Lincoln St. There are guidelines put out by the schools that cover wavers. Beyond that, it doesn't seem like we have the manpower even if we had the equipment.

Nutting - It is parent responsibility to make the decision for their students. I don't think we have the money to go and by another machine. We are not going to be filling jobs anytime soon so I would change it.

Vallee - I have no criticism, you're doing a good job. What is your crew doing today?

Brutus - We're clearing the equipment, making repairs. We did some set up for the H1N1 flu.

Whalen - great presentation, good information. What percent of the snow removal is done by DPW vs. the contractors?

Brutus - DPW does about 30% of the road plowing for a major storm. For the longer period with less snow, we mix the staff over the phases of the snow. The DPW is always on before we call in the contractors.

Whalen - Is there a way to re-allocate some of the resources to get the sidewalks cleared? It maybe that we are doing too good a job plowing the roads.
Brutus - I understand what you're saying, the problem is with the timing. I can't really start clearing the sidewalks with snow falling. If you did the sidewalks and then the plows can by again, it would undo what we already did on the sidewalks.

Whalen - Did I hear that there is an impediment with the labor agreement?
Nutting - Everybody gets a fair bite of the apple on the overtime.

Pfeffer - The priority order is good, we don't have the capability to do it all. The schools have an opportunity to delay or cancel school.

Zollo - What routes do get covered and in what order?
Brutus - three routes shown on map, agreement reached and modified as necessary with the School Dept.

Zollo - the dilemma is how to create a balance? I am not saying we can eliminate all risk.

Kelly - Is there any priority put on the Town Common with the Sunday services?
Brutus - no there isn't any priority there. We clean up the downtown after the storm, during daylight hours.

Nutting - we used to do downtown during the night but we don't have the budget to pay the time and half. It disturbs some during the day but that is the way t is.

Jones - You do a great job. Question I have is with the hot zones.
Brutus - it is an issue, drainage needs to be handled. We are in a freeze right now so it is okay but when the thaw comes, we'll need to deal with it.

Jones - It was icy for some time.
Brutus - We really don't have a practice for salting the sidewalks. Some of the schools have salt available as necessary to use.

Powderly - you guys do a phenomenal jobs with limited resources. I am very uncomfortable with students who are walkers who would be punished in a way by not getting sidewalks cleared. I think we should revisit it. Re-allocation of the plowing resources.
Nutting - They used to have an inclement weather bus but that was cut years ago. I don't think stopping a bus to pick up students on the roads wouldn't work. The parents primary responsibility is the students safety. It is not the Town's responsibility.

Powderly - can GATRA be used? There must be some way.
Whalen - I am not the only one observing plows plowing on hardtop and reallocating that money to switch to start doing the sidewalks.

Whalen - It would be good to know if we are putting an exceptional amount of salt, etc. comparable to other communities.
Brutus - We are pretty much in the same neighborhood for salt amount per mile of road used. I take offense to running on dry roads. The center of the roads will get cleared more of course, but pushing back from the edges to widen the road takes multiple passes. We wait to call in our contractors until later than others.

Vallee - Norfolk has more than we, we need more snow blower units for the sidewalks.
Brutus - it doesn't happen often that we get a storm like that.

Pfeffer - There is no easy answer to this. The first time we don't clear the roads, then the police, fire and others would be in hear screaming. I think the Schools can do more by cnaceling when the snow gets higher.

Zollo - This is an issue because of our revenue problem. We don't have the resources to provide what we used to. This is a real life example of whether it is an override or not. With the resources that we have, we are getting a high level of service. Just understand the effects of not increasing resources.

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