Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 11 February 2011 00:00
On Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2011, Punxsutawney Phil was raised from his burrow on his 125th birthday. After surveying his surroundings carefully, the furry weather forecaster found there was no shadow around and his handlers proclaimed that ‘spring is near.’ With record levels of snow accumulations this month, storm cleanups have already spent approximately 85 percent of the Village of Garden City’s snow budget.
Village Auditor Jim Olivo commented on the ongoing snow woes at the most recent village board meeting. “We had a storm last week that had about $19,000 worth of overtime attached to it. It’s clear that this winter has not been kind and we are contingent at this point for overtime money. So if we have anymore snow, we’ll be coming to the board for overtime,” Olivo said. “Let’s hope the groundhog was right,” he said, adding there has been some issues discussed of where to move the snow.
Mayor Robert J. Rothschild said that residents have offered many suggestions on what to do with the snow. “Everybody said dump it over by St. Paul’s on the Rockaway [Avenue] side. It’s got all that open area. Great idea, right? Well, we can’t put it there because of all the salt, sand and the oil that has mixed with the snow and you can’t dump it on our fields,” the mayor said.
The mayor said the biggest issue right now is that street corners have become dangerous situations with snow piled high. “We have a number of residents who have written me very nice, kind emails with suggestions about where issues are,” the mayor said, and he will get workmen out to those areas in need.
Village Clerk Brian Ridgway said the village website has recently introduced a message alert screen on the homepage. Visitors can learn important information on snow removal, meeting cancellations and postponements. It was also announced that the village Facebook page now has close to 300 followers and Ridgway said it is an additional and important way to communicate with residents.
First Assistant Chief Cavarra of the Garden City Fire Department urged residents to clear snow from around fire hydrants following the most recent winter storms. The department responded to 136 alarms in January. On Jan. 30, they responded to a fire on Popper Street. “The damage was minimal. We pride ourselves on our quick response and that’s actually what held that particular fire in check,” Cavarra said. “The only issue we had there is that the hydrants weren’t shoveled out,” he explained. Cavarra asked residents to do their part and clear snow out to make hydrants visible. “If you are having an issue or are unable to do it, please contact headquarters and we’d be happy to do it for you.”
For more information on the Village of Garden City, visit the village website at www. gardencityny.net.