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Pilot program for downtown snow removal nixed



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February 16, 2011 - Downtown Oxford merchants should dust off their shovels and snowblowers because the party's over.

The village council last week voted 5-0 to discontinue a pilot program in which Department of Public Works employees had been removing snow this winter from the front sidewalks of downtown's four quadrants.

"I don't want to see this continue," said Councilman Tony Albensi. "I just don't think it's right that a certain part of the DDA (district) is receiving snow removal and the other parts aren't."

With the pilot program scrapped, downtown merchants will once again be responsible for keeping the sidewalks in front of their establishments clear of snow as required by village ordinance.

The pilot program began Dec. 6 and continued through the end of January.

During that time, the DPW spent a total of 17.5 hours on 11 separate dates clearing snow from downtown sidewalks whenever the accumulation was 1 inch or more. No salt was spread for ice removal.

The estimated cost incurred by the village for this additional service was $640, according to DPW Superintendent Don Brantley.

However, some officials thought this estimate was too low and didn't include all of the costs such as DPW employee benefits.

"I don't think these numbers are even close to right," said Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth. "I would like to see the real numbers."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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