2011-03-23 / Editorial

Community needs cooperation in snow district issue

Bee Editorial

I t has been approximately a decade in the making. The creation of sidewalk snow relief districts has been discussed by the public and Town Board members for quite a while, and we are glad that the subject is being thoroughly examined.

We believe the public hearing to consider proposing the districts, held during Monday’s Town Board meeting, was extremely informative, however, we feel there are some aspects of the subject that were not explored.

The Sidewalk Snow Relief District Committee said property owners in the five specified zones would pay an annual cost of no more than $1 per linear foot of sidewalk. The final cost would be determined after the proposal is bid on by a private contractor.

Other details of the committee’s research include:

 The contractor would provide the equipment used in snow removal, which would be monitored by the town to ensure efficiency.  The town would not be liable for any damage incurred. Supervisor Barry Weinstein said it is possible the contractor could assume liability — if not, damages would be rectified by the homeowner.

While we believe sidewalk districts would greatly assist residents in snow removal as well as benefit pedestrians, we are concerned that private landscape contractors will not be able to keep up with the snow accumulation and, as a result, will rush to complete their jobs. If workers are in a hurry, it could jeopardize residential property, and lawns, trees and cement could be damaged.

Private contractors have to be held to a certain standard that must be monitored by the town. Residents should expect that the snow will be removed in a reasonable amount of time, and contractors must be held accountable. We applaud the Town Board’s efforts in examining the districts and understanding that this is an important issue to residents in the community. We are glad the creation of a proposal and a resolution is not being rushed.

It is important for residents to be involved in this matter — even members of the public who do not live within one of the five zones.

A public information meeting for residents in zones 1, 3 and 5 will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, 5583 Main St., Williamsville. A second meeting for residents in zones 2 and 4 will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at Town Hall. Also, Monday’s public hearing on the matter was adjourned instead of closed so that it may reconvene prior to the Town Board’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 11.

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