It's only the beginning of February and already more snow has fallen than all of last season. Once again on Tuesday night into early Wednesday, snow blanketed the areas of Mineola, although it was cleared with relative ease by members of the village's department of public works, under the leadership of superintendent Tom Rini.
"The roads look great. You know exactly when you leave Mineola because North Hempstead and the adjoining villages don't do anywhere near the job that our guys at DPW do. No one provides the services that we do here in Mineola and it's especially clear when you drive around," said Mayor Jack M. Martins last Wednesday afternoon.
Already dealing with its share of significant snowfalls, beginning in December, clearing snow has now become a habit. With the bulk of the snow falling overnight, village snowplows, beginning at midnight, were able to clear the streets rather easily, even with the recurring problem of cars being left on the streets. Recently, the village amended its ordinance so that cars being left on the streets during snowfalls of more than two inches are ticketed with a $100 fine.
The increase in fines may be starting to send a message. Both Mayor Martins and Rini believe that fewer cars were left on the streets during this most recent snowfall than have been in the past, although cars left on the streets were ticketed on Wednesday morning.
In addition, Mineola Auxiliary Police Chief Mike Spae was out for two straight nights reminding residents to get their cars off the street.
Mayor Martins also plans on implementing a system whereby residents can give the village their e-mail addresses when they apply for a leisure pass. The village can then send out an e-mail whenever there is an important message or a reminder.
In past snowfalls the village also encountered some problems with county roads such as First Street, Mineola Boulevard, Roslyn Road, Westbury Avenue and Willis Avenue not being cleared.
Village clerk Mike Arens noted that after a snowfall last month, five accidents took place on one day in the village. Four of the five took place in intersections that the county is responsible for clearing.
Last week, though, county roads appeared to be cleared. "They were out. They started late, but they were out," said Mayor Martins, who also noted that the state did a good job. State roads in Mineola include Jericho Turnpike and Hillside Avenue.
Rini said that the county's main roads were fine, including First Street near the hospital, which needs to be open because it is an ambulance route for communities to the west. However, Rini said he was told that Second Street from Mineola Boulevard wasn't in great shape, although Rini said he was paying more attention to the village roads so that snow was cleared down to the pavement.
Additional problems that may have forced snow into the roads included the wind and people shoveling snow into the streets. Residents are reminded not to dump snow into the streets because it could melt, freeze and create an icy condition that is unsafe.
While enduring a winter of significant snowfalls, the village still has enough contingency money in its budget to fund clearing snow during additional snowfalls. "We do have money in contingency. We were checking the numbers this afternoon and we're fine. We still have a couple of hundred thousand dollars left in contingency and we only have four months left of this [fiscal] year," Mayor Martins said last Wednesday.