February 11, 2014

Greetings Port North Residents,

I hope everyone is safe and sound after the recent snow storms. I am writing to you in response to a number of comments and complaints relating to the plowing and removal of snow that occurred during both snow incidents of February 3 and February 5th.

First, let me assure you that the Village of Port Washington North expects the best snow plowing possible from Dejana Industries, our for-hire contractor. It should be assuring to all that Dejana, without question, has more experience in snow removal than perhaps any other company on Long Island. In fact, they supply snow removal services to many of our nation’s airports. The Village’s instructions to our snow removal company are to plow curb to curb where possible and keep our streets safe and clear from snow and ice to the extent possible.

Each snowstorm, or series of snowstorms, has its own issues and personality. The issues surrounding the February storms were as follows:

  1. We were hit with two storms three days apart.
  2. Long Island was dealt with a significant shortage of salt due to weight restrictions on bridges and a lack of supply. The Village has been waiting for salt shipments for over 2 weeks.
  3. The mix of snow/rain/ice on February 3rd, along with the lack of salt, made removal difficult.

With that said, there is reason to question the quality of the snow removal that took place. The residents of Port North pay considerable tax dollars to ensure their roads remain safe and clear. The Village Board will continue to expect nothing less.

The most significant complaints that arose from the two storms can be categorized as follows:

  1. Plows came through and blocked in my recently cleared apron and/or sidewalk.
  2. Roads are not plowed well and need to be re-plowed.
  3. Plows are coming through too fast and spraying snow/ice/slush all over.
  4. Residents are not shoveling their sidewalks, especially at school bus locations.
  5. Cars are left on the street during plowing, not in their empty driveways.

The Village, upon hearing of these complaints, dispatched our Public Works Superintendent to use the Village’s plow help assisted to resolve as many complaints as possible. The Village also instructed Dejana to clear storm drains to prevent flooding and use pay loaders to remove snow left by parked cars and at intersections.

In large part of the complaints received, the Village Board has reached out to Dejana Industries for an explanation of why our streets were not cleared to the level we expect and why it took many passes to clear them. I have scheduled a meeting with the owner of Dejana Industries and their employees directly in charge of the cleanup. Joining me will be Village Public Works Superintendent Ron Novinski and Port North Trustee Michael Malatino. We will be looking for both answers and solutions and will provide you with their feedback after the meeting has taken place.

While we be searching for ways to improve our snow plowing and removal from our snow removal contractor, please keep in mind the following resident’s tips to allow for the most efficient snow plowing possible.

  1. Please remove cars from the street prior to snow falls. The initial survey from the first storm showed that three of every four cars on the street were adjacent to a driveway in which it likely could have been otherwise parked. Not removing your cars from the street prevents the plows from passing curb to curb and creates a situation where they either have to pass the cars and leave considerable snow on the road, or worse pack the snow up to the car, preventing the car owner from moving their car. Once they remove the car, the Village has to expend additional funds to remove the remaining snow from the street.
  2. Please keep your sidewalks clear as soon as possible after the end of the snow fall and if possible dig out any fire hydrants and school bus stops in your vicinity.
  3. I know many of you clean your aprons; only to have plows block them in with additional snow. Our advice is to please wait for plows to finish where possible before making your lone attempt to clear your aprons after the roads are clear and the plows have stopped. To the extent that you believe there has been an intentional deposit of snow in a driveway apron, please inform the village.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Your concerns have not gone unnoticed. Hopefully we will soon have some answers for you and develop a more comprehensive plan that will continue to set a high level of snow removal from our snow removal contractor and at the same time engage our residents to assist in the effort.


Mayor Bob Weitzner