JAMESTOWN – While the heat of summer is setting in, lawmakers in Jamestown are talking about snow, and the process to clear sidewalks so area kids can safety get to to school.
This issue first rose to the forefront last year, after a Jamestown father spoke out to WNY News Now, raising concerns about unplowed sidewalks which seem to plague the city each winter.
To solve the problem, the Jamestown City Council was slated to approve a shared services agreement with Jamestown Public Schools.
However the agreement, which would have paved the way for the district to purchase and maintain sidewalk plows that the municipality would operate, was tabled.
“Rather than put it up and vote on something they were not quite sure on, I think the council felt comfortable with just putting it off for a month,” stated Council President Tony Dolce.
“First of all, there’s been some questions about the legalities of using the ARPA funds and the transfer,“ explained President Dolce. “It seems to be okay, but we had just gotten the ruling on that, and I think they wanted to check into that.”
Other concerns arose from the employees needed to operate the plows, and what that would specifically entail.
“This has nothing to do with the school system,” says President Dolce. “We’re very appreciative of the fact that they’ve been willing to purchase the equipment and the maintenance agreements for those, But it’s a huge amount of money to commit for two full-time employees with benefits, So there was some concern and discussion as to whether we would want to look at possibly using seasonal or part-time employees versus full-time employees.”
The two positions could be full-time, but with weather unpredictable from winter to winter, there is a possibility they might need to be filled by part-time, or seasonal workers.
“Different than the summer help which is more scheduled, In the winter, we’d have to have some different parameters cause as the snow goes, the timing, the number of snowstorms that we actually have, and other things that they could be doing during that time,” explained President Dolce. “So there’s just a lot of things to tie up and how that would look financially as well as how that would look structurally within the department.”
While the resolution was shelved for the voting session, City Council plans to revisit the topic at their next Work Session on July 18th.