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Trustees set record straight on street plowing

January 30, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Austintown Township trustees cleared the air on clearing township roads at Monday's regular meeting. While most residents praised the road crew efforts, a few were complaining.

Township Administrator Michael Dockry said his road crews turned in 247 hours clearing roads during last weekend's big storm that dumped from 10 to 14 inches of snow in a short time. He said out of a 34-hour period, the crews were on the roads 27 hours.

"That storm had a different dynamic," Dockry said. "One road foreman told me in his 30 years he never saw a storm like that one."

Chairman Ken Carano said the township is responsible for 150 miles of roadway, but of that amount, there are 100 cul-de-sacs and 66 half cul-de-sacs.

"We have to get the [straight-through] roads cleared first for emergency vehicles before we start clearing cul-de-sacs," Carano said. "Normal heavy storms drop 3 to 4 inches of snow. This one happened very fast and dumped over 10 inches."

Carano then turned to the township's parking ban. He said a few did not move their vehicles and they were buried. He said those vehicle owners could have also been ticketed for ignoring the ban.

Another issue was brought up by Trustee Doug McGlynn.

"When you are plowing your drive, don't put it in the street," he said. "It creates extra weight for the plows and hampers what the crews are trying to do."

Township resident Sam Swoger spoke in praise of all the township departments.

"I've lived here 40 years and I can say we have the best police, fire and road departments around."

Swoger specifically thanked the fire department for a fast response recently when he was starting a tractor in his shed and was overcome by carbon monoxide. He said the response was fast and he is alive today because of that.

On a final snow storm issue, Carano said 90 percent of damaged mail boxes are taken down by heavy snow. He said the state has quit replacing them and residents living on state routes are forced to put up snow shields to protect them.

In the township, the plows are traveling as fast as state and county vehicles are, so there is less chance for damage. Still, if a township plow damages a mail box, the township will try to fix it.

Regarding this week's dangerous temperatures, Carano said the fire department will be using their SUVs to respond to non-fire emergencies as taking the big fire trucks out (which have water tanks on board) could result in damage to valves and lines. The big trucks will only be sent out for fires.

In other business:

McGlynn was appointed as a representative to the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District Advisory Board.

Trustees approved the credit card policy mandated by the State of Ohio. The policy included checking out township credit cards and being limited on the amount of time one could be checked out for.

Senior Center Director Jim Henshaw reminded everyone that when the schools close, the Senior Center closes. It was mentioned that the center would be available as a shelter if needed during the frigid temperatures this week.

Police Chief Bob Gavalier stated his department received a JAG grant for $9,600 to provide for new computers and laptops.



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