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CHEEKTOWAGA PUTS BILL TO CLEAR STREETS OF SNOW AT $250,000

Cheektowaga spent at least a quarter-million dollars to battle January's heavy snowfall.

And town officials hope to recoup some of that money through federal aid.

Cheektowaga, like other Erie County municipalities, is tallying the cost of the recent snowstorm and will submit the numbers to the county, said Cheektowaga Disaster Coordinator Earl Loder.

Then the county, on behalf of the municipalities, plans to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for area aid, Loder said.

Cheektowaga set aside more than $1 million for snow removal this year, but the early snowfall already has taken a nice piece of that budget.

It has been the area's third snowiest January on record, with 63.5 inches of snow falling at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Town officials estimated Cheektowaga spent at least $250,000 from Jan. 1 to Jan. 17 to clear the snow from the town's 192 miles of road.

The Cheektowaga Highway Department paid workers about $110,000 in overtime to keep the streets plowed and salted, according to Highway Department figures.

The town also spent about $5,000 in police overtime, consumed nearly $100,000 worth of road salt, spent roughly $25,000 for equipment parts and used about $5,000 in fuel, town officials said.

Cheektowaga officials are uncertain whether the town actually will get any aid.

Meanwhile, town officials are considering ways to make clearing streets easier during the next snowstorm.

Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak proposed making changes in some of the neighborhoods where there is street parking.

Highway crews have had a difficult time plowing some of the streets near the Buffalo border -- such as the Walden Avenue area -- because cars are always parked on the same side of the street, said Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent Christopher J. Kowal.

The plows are able to clear one side of the street, but they have a problem plowing the side where the cars are parked, Kowal said.

Alternate-side parking in those neighborhoods may be a possibility, Gabryszak said.

"I will ask the traffic safety commission to review the numerous requests for alternate-side parking and have them make a recommendation to the Town Board," Gabryszak said.

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