TROY — With no official business on its agenda, Troy City Council and city staff fielded questions surrounding its snow removal policy at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Council member Robin Oda said she was concerned about snow pushed into piles against the curbs, making access to the sidewalks difficult and causing parking issues around downtown.
Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said when time allows, city trucks can scoop the snow and pile it at the North Market Street ball fields.
“Our first priority is to get the roads clear,” he said. Oda also said cars are parked further in the roadway because of the snow causing another hazard. Titterington said it’s always an issue each winter, but priority is to clear streets.
Dave Newnam, a resident on Cara Drive located on a cul-de-sac, addressed council and city staff about snow removal in residential streets.
Newnam said he has lived at the residence for 19 years and the city used to plow his street, and now they don’t. Newnam said he understands that there are priorities to streets, with primary and secondary streets, but all residential streets should be serviced.
“As a taxpayer, all streets should be plowed,”said Newnam, making a comparison to fire and emergency response for all residents, not just in certain areas. “My taxes are as good as anybody else’s. Can I ask why cul-de-sacs are not plowed?”
Titterington said he, the mayor and other city staff members also live on cul-de-sac roads, which are the last to be plowed. Newnam claimed all the city staff’s roads were plowed Tuesday evening. Titterington told Newnam his road should be plowed by Wednesday.
Newnam said if his residential road was to be attended to it would be the first time in years. Titterington told President Baker he would gladly submit a report with a GPS map of where the city has plowed streets.
Titterington reviewed the priority list of primary and secondary streets and then emergency facilities are treated and then around the schools. Council member William Lutz said he drove on Plum Street near Kyle school and the road was snow covered. Titterington said it was due to residential snow clearing which dumped the snow into the street.
Titterington said due to the limited number of residents in residential cul-de-sac those types of streets are the least frequently treated due to traffic volume. He said he takes eight plow trucks six hours to clear main and secondary streets and then three times that amount to clear residential areas.
Titterington said the number of residential roads and cul-de-sac roads have increased and the city has 300 miles of roads and two-thirds are primaries and secondary roads.
Newnam said he understands the city’s policy and priorities, but, “as a taxpayer, I don’t understand why at some point my cul-de-sac doesn’t get plowed.”
Newnam said, “I think we need to take a look at this as a group, as a city, and be a little bit more customer service friendly with our taxpayers.”
Council member Oda asked if a snow emergency policy to remove vehicles off the street would help. Titterington said has been discussed in years past, but it would require more enforcement, signage and communication to put the policy in place, but he would check with the chief of police.
Council member Todd Severt asked what was the determining factor to add overtime during weather events. Titterington said it depended on the level on safety concerns and weather forecasts.
“Every event is different,” he said.
Resident Lester Conard said while city staff claims city services are better than ever, the costs to the residents are even higher.
Conard said the decrease in quality is due to not enough personnel. Conard also noted he’d like to see a more diverse council in the future.
Conard also said he thinks the city of Troy has too much money in the general fund and wastes money on projects such as the branding initiative to be unveiled in the coming weeks. The cost is $63,525, to which the city contributed $12,500.
In other news:
Council member John Terwilliger reminded residents the first two rows of parking in the new Mulberry Street lot by the police department is open for public use.
Terwilliger said businesses had questions regarding the new lot and signage will be added when weather allows.
Council member John Schweser thanked residents and council members for attending the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Troy on Monday morning.
Troy City Council President Marty Baker encouraged council members to attend a meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18 at City Hall in regards to McKaig Road improvements and the Dorset and McKaig intersection.
The other meeting is a council workshop to begin at 6 p.m. at the Bravo Room at Hobart Arena on Monday, Jan. 29.
Troy City Council remembered William Harrison Hobart, a former chairman and CEO of Hobart Brothers Co., who died at the age of 93 on Jan. 1 with a resolution of memoriam on Tuesday.
Hobart was married to his wife of more than 60 years, Julia DeCamp Hobart and was the grandson of C.C. Hobart, the founder of Hobart Brothers Co. and Hobart Corp., and the son of William Harrison Hobart Sr.
The resolution will be presented to Hobart’s family and was signed by all council members present.