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Snow removal is taking its toll on North Collins’ equipment

NORTH COLLINS — The recent wave of snow storms has been rough on village of North Collins equipment, according to local officials, and also necessitated moving the regular village board meeting to Jan. 10. Mayor Vincent George said that he was proud that North Collins was the only nearby village to not declare a driving ban, during the worst of the snow.

While commending the local department of public works staff members for keeping the streets open, George admitted that not all sidewalks had been cleared. He reported that one village employee required hospital attention, after hitting a raised sidewalk and bumping his head.

The snow-blowing unit proved very slow in clearing walks, as ice had formed during the thaw and freeze, the mayor said.

George added that the village’s priority in sidewalk plowing “has been Main Street, to keep people from having to walk in Route 62. Then, the crews move on to the side streets.”

Board Member Paul Carozzi asked for residents’ help, during peak snowfalls. “If neighbors could just meet their neighbors halfway, on their sidewalks, when they are clearing their drives, it would help,” he said. Carozzi also asked area residents to keep fire hydrants open, following a snow storm.

Carozzi added that the DPW staff members are aware that using a snow blower on local sidewalks has damaged some lawns; crews will be back to repair them, in the spring. He also reported that the village pickup truck is showing its age, especially with the recent weather, and has required more than $4,000 in repairs, this year.

George proposed utilizing a state bid price of $35,000 to secure a new truck, and to pay for the vehicle with anticipated surplus funds in current budget lines.

Board Member Brenda Bauer-Petrus said that she was not comfortable with drawing down those lines, in case of emergencies. She said she would rather see the village bond the purchase, as it is planning to do with the drainage project and purchase of a chipper.

George said that he would not suggest drawing on current funds, if he did not believe it was safe.

The measure passed, with Bauer-Petrus’ casting an opposing vote.

Fire Chief Jim Miller sought to transfer funds within his budget, to meet higher-than-projected training costs.

Six firefighters recently completed their basic course and were outfitted with Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved gear.

Adding to those costs, the fire company conducted two live-burn exercises, this year.

Miller also sought mileage reimbursement for two members who had taken state instructor training. The chief said that having certified instructors in the fire company will save the expense of paying for the service, in the future.

Bauer-Petrus expressed dismay about the low amounts remaining in the fire accounts and made a motion to transfer only the amount needed to cover the training, not the $2,000 Miller had requested. She also told him, “I’ll go along, but don’t expect another dime from the village, if a problem comes up.”

Bauer-Petrus also requested the amount donated to fire protection by the fire company from its fund drive and events. Miller said that the village could request that information from the fire company president. He detailed various pieces of equipment the company had purchased, as well as ongoing renovations to the training center.

Bauer-Petrus asked if those items were inventoried and if they had been reported to the village. Miller said they had not, but that he understands the equipment is village property. He said he had an in-house inventory list and would provide it to the board.

A 150-foot shift east will be required, when the village is ready to begin diverting storm water along Eagle Drive and through the Purdy parcel, toward Franklin Gulf. The Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the original path would impact existing wetlands. George noted that the move will also have less impact on the Purdy agricultural land.

The new pump station could be operational as early as Jan. 22, if all goes as planned, George said. The latest glitch was the failure of an antenna to send a signal. The problem will be resolved by placing that item on the water tower.

The next village board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 4 in the village hall.

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