By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Following complaints that arose after last week’s snowstorm, the Cooperstown Village Board is once again debating snow removal from sidewalks in the village.
“There has often been a suggestion that the village take more responsibility for snow removal on sidewalks,” said Trustee Cindy Falk. “I think that those of us that have been involved in this discussion in the past understand that that needs to be done equitably.”
Cost is a factor, she said, and has stopped other municipalities in the past.
Falk believes, after “pulling together some figures,” that there are ultimately two options to remove snow accumulated on village sidewalks – an in-house and a contract option.
“[An in-house option] would mean hiring additional street crew members, getting additional equipment, fuel costs and salt costs and would be quite an undertaking,” Falk said.
However, Falk went on to advocate for the consideration of snow clearance by volunteers, as the village does with their rain gardens, fire hydrants and storm drains.
“I think utilizing volunteers is probably – at this point – our best solution and we just need to work through what the parameters are to make sure we’re not taking advantage of volunteers,” Falk said.
Board member James Dean expressed some concerns as it relates to the volunteer efforts explaining, “it’s one thing when snow just falls on the sidewalk, but by the time puts that snow on the sidewalk that’s very heavy compacted snow and very [difficult] to move.”
But Trustee Richard Sternberg warned that volunteers could find themselves taken advantage of when the homeowners are able-bodied enough to shovel their walk themselves.
“We’ve only had three complaints this year – let’s not let the tail wag the dog,” he said. “I think we can come up with something and hopefully people don’t abuse it because if they abuse it then it’s gonna stop.”
“Do we really want to come up with a multi-hundred thousand dollar solution to a problem that’s this limited?” he added. “Most people accept it.”
For now, Tillipaugh has advised that the board move forward with a volunteer program “for the times where we get 30 inches of snow.”