County budget cuts will not impact snowplowing efforts
SUMMIT COUNTY – The county’s budget may be strained, but commissioners agreed Monday that recent reductions won’t impact snowplowing.
“We made a decision early on there were certain critical services we weren’t going to cut in a budget crisis,” said County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom.
County Commissioner Tom Long said they can’t promise those services will never be reduced, but it won’t happen this year.
Conversely, the town of Avon last month cut its snowplowing hours in the wake of a $500,000 budget deficit.
Summit County Road and Bridge director John Polhemus said he hasn’t found any fat in his department.
“We were asked by the commissioners to check and see if we had more bodies than we needed and if there were ways to cut some corners,” he said. “They were looking at my graveyard shift, but I wanted to keep my graveyard shift. It’s a real safety issue that we have people out there 24 hours a day. I’d hate to see it leave because the county’s changed.”
The county’s graveyard plowing shift made its debut in 1999 after a series of complaints from citizen and law enforcement officers.
Assistant County Manager Steve Hill said the staff has gotten some complaints about snow plowing already this season. Lindstrom, however, said he’s heard comments on both sides of the issue.
“We actually had a complaint from a lady in Summit Cove who said her road was being plowed too often,” he said. “She wanted some left on the road for crosscountry skiing. That was the first time in my 29 years in Summit County that anybody complained about too much snowplowing.”
The county employs 15 full-time and two seasonal employees to take care of its nine plow routes. Two of those people work the graveyard shift from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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