Blow dryers vs. paper towels swirl up a fuss in Hamburg - The Buffalo News

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Blow dryers vs. paper towels swirl up a fuss in Hamburg

Hamburg beaches opened to great weather, quiet zones will be operational at two railroad crossings in the town later this month, and the town is third in the nation in teaching safe driving to seniors.

The only fuss at Monday’s Town Board meeting was over paper towels versus blow driers.

It started when Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Tom Best began removing paper towel dispensers in town buildings earlier this year and replacing them with high-powered blow dryers.

“I want to go green like everybody else in the country,” he said.

But Police Chief Michael Williams brought the issue to the Town Board work session Monday afternoon. Blow dryers located near dispatch and an interview room are too loud, Williams said, and interfere with dispatchers trying to hear calls and detectives interviewing people.

“It’s hard for my dispatchers to answer phones and radios,” he said.

The Buildings and Grounds Department has supplied paper towels for years, but the chief said Best was not helpful.

“I have asked for paper towels and have been told I’m not allowed to have paper towels in my building,” Williams said. “His answer to me is ‘Buy your own.’”

The Buildings and Grounds Department did decide to supply one box containing six rolls a month, but that’s not enough for the entire department, Williams said. What’s more, Buildings and Grounds has started charging the Police Department for oil changes in patrol cars. That used to come out of the Buildings and Grounds budget.

“I don’t budget for paper towels, Buildings and Grounds budgets for paper towels,” Williams said. “I come to you and I ask: What do we do?”

Councilwoman Cheryl Potter Juda said the dryers are effective and can save money, but “there are situations where they are not functional.”

“I’ve talked to Tom and I’ve talked to the chief,” Supervisor Steven Walters said. “I’m tired of hearing about paper towels.”

Board members said the paper towels should be purchased, and the issue should be revisited at budget time this fall.

Best said he’s having a disagreement with the chief over “going green,”and he is trying to save money.

“He doesn’t seem to want to keep up with the times,” said Best, who also is the highway superintendent and is a former police captain.

Best said a month ago he refused to change the oil in Police Department vehicles when the Police Department did not want to pay for the oil. Williams said he decided to pay for the oil out of his department budget since it was cheaper than sending the cars to a private garage.

Best said the Buildings and Grounds maintenance budget hasn’t gone up, and the cost of supplies, such as oil, keep going up.

“It was cheaper,” Best said of the power dryers. “I thought that was the best idea I’ve had in five years.”

Almost as good as the idea last year when he found a cheaper toilet paper. Don’t even ask if anyone complained about that.


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