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Tonawanda highway chief issues 'friendly reminders' on snow removal

Recent snowy weather had the Town of Tonawanda highway superintendent on Monday issuing several "friendly reminders" to residents.

First, William E. Swanson reminded residents that "it's illegal to put snow in the street."

"The biggest problem we're having so far again this year is when we go down the street and do it, everybody's snowblowing it back into the streets," he told the Town Board. "We just have a major issue."

That holds true for commercial plow drivers clearing private property.

"If you're plowing a driveway, you have to keep that snow on the property," he said. "You can't cross the street. You can't put it on your neighbor's lawn. You have to keep it on your own property."

Costs for the Highway Department increase when plows have to make extra passes because snow is deposited back in the streets, Swanson said.

"People have to stop putting the snow in the street," he said.

Also, Swanson reminded residents that during a storm it takes plows four hours to make a single pass on all town streets.

"So everyone has to be a little patient," he said. "Somebody's going to be first, somebody's going to be last. But I guarantee it'll all get done."

Swanson said highway chiefs in other towns have the same complaints. "Everybody else is in the same boat," he said.

In other business:

  • The Town Board approved the purchase of 5,000 tons of road salt from Compass Minerals America at a cost of $40.33 per ton delivered, or $35.03 per ton picked up.
  • The Town Board authorized spending up to $30,000 of a grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to purchase body cameras for the Police Department. The cameras are to be purchased from WatchGuard of  Allen, Texas. Mandatory wearing of body cameras by town police officers must still be negotiated with the police union, but Chief Jerome Uschold said he hopes some officers will begin wearing them on a voluntary basis early next year.
  • Monday's Town Board meeting was the final one for Town Attorney John J. Flynn Jr., who becomes Erie County district attorney next year. Flynn has served as a councilman, town justice and town attorney since January 2004. "For the last 13 years he has represented this town very ably in a variety of jobs," said Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger. "I can certainly say that the Town of Tonawanda's loss is certainly Erie County's gain."
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