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Nearly 13 miles of sidewalks in the heart of Orchard Park will be cleared of snow this winter -- courtesy of a new, $60,500 sidewalk snowplow.

Village officials Monday crossed the big-ticket item off their wish list, after learning that it would cost at least $11,000 to repair the village's 24-year-old Bombardier sidewalk plow, which the village bought for $17,000 after the blizzard of 1977.

Many trustees questioned how prudent it would be to sink $11,000 into a 1977 snowplow that is among the oldest pieces of village equipment.

Trustees decided against leasing or repairing the old plow and instead opted to buy a new one. To afford it, they refigured the village's proposed equipment replacement schedule to have enough money from an equipment reserve account. That means that some equipment coming due for replacement will be stretched for at least another year's use.

"I think it's one service that the Department of Public Works does that most residents appreciate," Trustee Stephen Bray said before the board voted unanimously to trade in the old plow and buy a new, diesel-powered sidewalk plow from Cyncon Equipment of Rochester. The cost totals $60,500 after figuring in a $4,500 trade-in for the old model.

Trustee Francis Hogenkamp noted that the new plow would cost the village about $2,400 a year but lauded the village's longtime practice of clearing sidewalks when it doesn't really have to. The village's snow-clearing ordinance stipulates that homeowners are responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their property by 8:30 a.m.

Clearing sidewalks helps the business community as well as children walking to nearby schools and day care centers within the village, Hogenkamp said.

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