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VILLAGE'S SNOW-FIGHTING EFFORTS ARE COSTLY, PROMPT CALL FOR LICENSING PRIVATE PLOWS

The record snow this month has cost the Village of Hamburg more than $100,000 to clean up and has prompted calls for licensing of private snow plows.

"Starting with the snow on New Year's Eve and up to (Monday), we had 123 inches of snow in the village," Public Works Superintendent Gerald E. Knoll said. "This is many times the amount of snow received during the Blizzard of '77."

Knoll said his streets crews worked 1,696 hours of overtime, the village rented trucks and large snow blowers to remove the snow, two sidewalk plows broke and a bulldozer broke down during the course of the onslaught.

He said overtime cost the village $44,000; equipment rental, $43,000; estimated cost of repair and restoration in the spring, $20,000; and salt and fuel, $2,000.

"They worked hard, long hours," Knoll said of his crews. "We're still working at it. We take second place to nowhere in Western New York in tackling snow removal."

All streets have been cleared and are passable for two-way traffic, and all streets have had the sidewalks plowed on at least one side, he said.

"A few streets will only have one side of the sidewalk passable for awhile with isolated spots not opened up as a result of large piles of snow, mainly from plowing contractors," Knoll said, adding that some sidewalks have piles of snow seven feet high.

Mayor John S. Thomas praised the Department of Public Works crews.

"It's amazing to me how despite our largest snowfall that I can remember, we only had to place a driving ban in place for six hours," Thomas said.

He said village police have been directed to begin strictly enforcing the village law prohibiting placing snow in streets or blocking sidewalks.

"We issued over 40 warnings, we're now ready to begin issuing summons," Thomas said.

He said some commercial plow operators have placed snow back on their customer's property, while others push it into the street and it ends up in a neighbor's driveway when the street plows come by.

"All some of them care about is making a quick buck and getting onto the next job," Thomas said.

He said the village will begin ticketing plow trucks not equipped with a rotating light required by state law, and it is seriously considering licensing commercial plow operators in the future.

"On behalf of the Village Board, we appreciate the patience shown by many of our residents. This is frustrating for all of us but I hope the worst is behind us," the mayor said.

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