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SK taxpayers, town officials clash over snow removal

February 17, 2011

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Town taxpayers had much on their minds at Monday night's town council meeting, expressing their disappointment in snow removal along streets in the town and also their hope for the reopening of the Dugway Road Bridge.

Joseph Daly sparked the debate on whether the public works department employees did an adequate job removing snow along streets as he presented the council with a petition with 50 signatures from people expressing their dissatisfaction with the plowing done during the winter storms.

“The streets were not plowed wide enough during December 2010 and January 2011. I'm asking town employees to plow more widely so two cars can get by. School buses should be able to pass others safely,”Daly said. “This is all about public safety.”

Daly said he and other neighbors have had difficulty driving along two lane streets where only one car can get by, walking in the street due to sidewalks left not shoveled and turning into intersections where high snow banks make it hard to see oncoming traffic. Daly cited one resident he knows who said she had been hit by a car as a result of the snow on the roads.

“He has a very valid point. I believe the town is doing the best they can with the resources they have, but they could do more,” Paul Northup, a resident said. “I don't think anyone could get by on High Street. If we put the effort we have in the summer, spring and fall in keeping the areas with grass up and put that energy into the winter time and getting the road clearer, it would be better. I hope the budget we have doesn't draw the line on public safety. I think there's room for improvement.”

However after listening to the public's comments, town manager Stephen A. Alfred adamantly disagreed.

“Tonight I wanted to take the time to thank the public works department for the work they have done,” Alfred said. “When you're faced with a situation with back to back storms, you're not able to remove snow. We had two storms back to back. We had employees out for 30 hours straight. They worked extremely hard and deserve recognition, not criticism”
Alfred said the town employees worked on 22 snow routes and 300 lane miles of road that needed to be plowed in a four hour period.

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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