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Shared services are one key to improvements in roadwork and snow-removal programs, according to a recent report on Chautauqua County's Department of Public Facilities.

"Our quality and our productivity both have improved, and we are able to accomplish more work with the same number of people," said Kenneth Brently, head of the department. "We are listening to our employees and our customers -- the public -- trying each day to better meet the needs of residents."

Brently added that "we are sharing services with other municipalities; we have vastly upgraded our highway snow-removal program. We have made our roads safer, and we are doing more engineering work in-house, which has saved county taxpayers money on design and on construction projects."

An agreement between the county and Village of Falconer, for example, saves the county an estimated $300,000 and the village an estimated $400,000 in costs of specialized equipment. The village cleans county-owned streets in the village and the maintenance shop yard, vacuuming the storm drain catch basins and plowing Elmwood Avenue. The county crews, using county paving equipment, help pave the village streets.

Another agreement between the county and the Towns of Stockton, Charlotte and Hanover and the Village of Sinclairville allows the county to house its snow-fighting equipment and store road salt and brine at facilities owned by the local municipalities. County plow operators now have the equipment at the town and village locations closer to their homes, which allows them to respond more quickly to changing road conditions in their areas.

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