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Winter Wreaks Havoc On DPW Budget

Storms push costs at least $100,000 over projections

Back-to-back storms have pushed the Department of Public Works (DPW) budget at least $100,000 over department projections as snow removal crews and supplies were in high demand this month.

“The salt and sand budget is out of whack. Overtime is off the wall and we’re only halfway through,” DPW director Robert Mangan said at a village board meeting that was held on Thursday, Feb. 6. “It’s one of those peak years.”

The department was already running $30,000 over in overtime costs prior to the Feb. 3 and 5 storms, he added. Trustees approved $80,000 in fund transfers for overtime and snow removal materials and supplies and will take a closer look at proposed department spending plans this week as budget work sessions kick off Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the village hall boardroom.

Garden City got hit with two significant storms in one week, putting the department’s snow plowing and ice control plan into action. Mangan said crews make at least two passes down each village street during all major storms, oftentimes working 14 to 16 hours before relief crews take over operations.

Two trucks are assigned to each of six sections of the village—the Mott section, Southeast, Central, Estates South, Estates North and the West section. The village’s five railroad station parking fields are tackled first, payloaders take care of the dead ends and once streets are cleared the focus shifts to the parking fields.

Front line crews aren’t the only ones working around the clock. Mangan said mechanics have been busy making repairs to overused plows. The department has spent $1,100 in parts in January and early February alone.

“It’s a very expensive operation,” he said.

To make matters worse, there’s a salt shortage on Long Island. In declaring a state of emergency during the Feb. 5 storm, Gov. Andrew Cuomo enabled local municipalities to dip into state stockpiles.

Cuomo directed the Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority to move 3,500 tons of road salt to localities in need. The village received 10 tons of salt and has 700 tons on order with Atlantic Salt Inc., a supplier out of Staten Island.

Trustee Dennis Donnelly praised the department’s efforts and suggested police aides put “No Parking After 3 p.m.” signs up along Seventh Street to enable crews to clear snow piles at the curb line for pedestrians. “It would give you an opportunity in the afternoon to sweep the street and push it all off the curbs,” he said to Mangan.

Resident Althea Robinson said navigating Seventh Street was “almost impossible” after the storms and suggested crews make curb cuts every few feet.

Icy conditions landed one sanitation worker in the hospital with neck and back injuries after he slipped on a sloped driveway off Newmarket Road on Thursday, Jan. 30.

“It is dangerous for these guys out there when it is these icy conditions,” Mangan said.

In light of the incident, Trustee John DeMaro reminded residents to clear paths for sanitation crews grabbing garbage cans from residential yards. “It is imperative for people to shovel,” he said. “If they don’t they’re putting our workers at risk.”

Though the snow has stopped falling and the streets and parking fields are open, village administrator Robert Schoelle said the “arduous task of reclaiming parking spaces lost to plowed snow in the parking fields” is just beginning.

“The process goes on for a very long time,” he said.

News

The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 35th annual Fall Festival Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Seventh Street. The chamber thanks the Garden City Hotel which will serve as the primary event sponsor.

JGS entertainment will return for the 16th year as master ceremonies providing music and vocals. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Included will be the return of the two trackless trains carrying children 12 years of age and younger up and down Seventh Street sponsored by Coach Realtors and Garden City Teachers Association. There will be the traditional inflatable bouncy house sponsored by SMPL Technologies and the ever-popular money cube sponsored by Calogero’s and Leo’s. The Garden City Parks and Recreation Department will have giveaways and temporary tattoos.

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.


Sports

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com