Middletown Councilor Diana McGlone reported progress in the town's public work’s department’s efforts to deal with the aftermath of Winter Storm Jonas's gift of over 30 inches of snow..
In a post in Social Media McGlone noted snow removal on Thurs., Jan. 28 will be focused as follows:
•Union St. south of Ann St.
•Pine St. from Spruce St. to Park Circle Dr.
•Widening snow clogged areas and pushing snow back on Oak Hills Drive and Adelia S. north bound from Emaus St.
•Cleaning sidewalks on Borough’s properties
•Other identified problem areas.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 13:27
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 11:18
Middletown Police Department is reminding resident /visitors that it is unlawful to place objects in the street to save parking spots.
The department noted "such actions can place people and property at risk, and can serve as a major obstacle for borough employees and contractor attempting to plow the streets."
The borough's ordnance reads as follows:
"It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person from December 1 of any year and continuing until March 31 of the following year to place or cause to be placed any item whatsoever for the purpose of reserving parking spaces on any street in the Borough during any periods of precipitation, whether or not a snow emergency has been declared."
The department asked residents to keep in mind that public streets are open to all residents and visitors to park upon, unless marked by proper signage (to include permit parking areas), and or restricted by state or local laws. "Any actions taken against another, or his or her property, in retaliation, will not be tolerated," the department's notice added.
The reminder was issued by the police department through Middletown Borough's Nixle system on Wed., Jan. 27.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:45
Written by Dan Miller
An outside contractor was expected to start the process of getting snow off Middletown streets by 2 p.m. this afternoon, following passage of a disaster emergency
proclamation by borough council during a special meeting that was held at noon on Monday, Jan. 25.
The outside contractor was to assist with removing snow until at least 7 p.m. Monday and is then expected to return on Tuesday, Assistant Public Works Superintendent Chris Burkholder told the Press And Journal after the special council meeting.
The declaration - issued as a proclamation from Mayor James H. Curry III - means that the borough can bypass competitive bidding procedures that can take weeks and immediately hire one or more contractors to help with the mammoth job of getting the mountains of snow off borough streets and alleys.
The declaration is also necessary for the borough to apply to get reimbursement through the county or the state to cover part or all of the cost of bringing in the outside contractors.
Finally, the declaration reaffirms and continues the travel and parking restrictions that have been in place since Curry issued a snow emergency proclamation Friday night.
Until the disaster ends, borough residents are ordered not to drive on borough streets except for purposes of "essential travel or to preserve health and safety." Parking of motor vehicles on sides of streets marked "Snow Emergency Route" will be subject to being immediately towed, according to the mayor's proclamation.
At this point, there is little more that plowing streets can accomplish, until crews can start removing the snow.
"There is nowhere else to go with this snow," Curry told council during the meeting. "If you drive up North Union Street from the curb out, you have a snow bank. So if I would lift the snow emergency and have people go park back in these areas, you aren't going to have a road."
The borough has enough places to take the snow, Burkholder said, among them the municipal swimming pool on South Union Street, athletic fields along Susquehanna Street and Oak Hill Drive, and the Hoffer Park parking lot.
Councilor Diana McGlone suggested using some of the now vacant lots on Few Avenue where houses stood before Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.
The bigger problem is finding the outside contractors and equipment, given that so many of these folks are already removing snow for other municipalities and companies all over the midstate.
Curry suggested Burkholder reach out to the contractor that does snow removal for Middletown Area School District. Councilor Robert Louer suggested trying to hire a contractor or two through the state, and even reaching out to the Pennsylvania National Guard.
As of Monday morning a number of borough streets, including major arteries like Emaus, while passable were still down to one lane. Some sidewalks had been cleared, others not even touched yet.
The borough has seven public works employees available to it for snow-clearing operations. They worked throughout the weekend, some continuing on a voluntary basis beyond what they were expected to do, Burkholder said.
"I didn't lose anybody," he said. "They all just kept pressing on close to 20 hours on Saturday in that shift. Other than a few alleys and some back streets they kept everything open. I can't really say anything other than it was extraordinary for a crew of seven people. I was going around town digging our plow trucks out with a snow shovel so I could keep them moving and I didn't have to get a loader to pull them out. I can't say enough about the dedication of those people."
By Monday morning Burkholder was down to three people for the day. He hopes to get back to normal shift operations by Tuesday morning.
There was little that could be done to anticipate the gravity of the storm ahead of time, Burkholder said. Forecasters were still calling for just 8 to 12 inches as the snow was starting to fall Friday night. That ended up being about one-third of the total.
Key staff members such as former Borough Manager Tim Konek and Burkholder's former boss - former Public Works Superintendent Lester Lanman - had resigned and were not readily unavailable.
"I relied heavily on the experience of the public works staff" that was left, Burkholder said. In addition, the state-owned roads are being plowed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation under an agreement that the borough has with PennDOT.
Just days before the storm, council tapped Police Chief John Bey to serve as acting borough manager.
Council also brought a former borough manager, Bruce Hamer, in as management advisor. Hamer was at the table for the special council meeting on Monday.
There were some grumblings and complaints, such as those that come in the wake of any snowstorm - even those not judged historic. But on the whole, Curry said he was impressed with what he saw as far as the cooperation and attitude of borough residents.
"I don't think you could have asked for better service from what these people did," Curry said of the borough staff. "The phone has been in my hand since 8 p.m. on Friday, addressing people on Facebook, taking calls, e-mails etc. The frustration I think is minimal. I think in general people are just looking for an update like 'when do you think this street might be hit, etc.' I don't really see people being angry. I think they understand that there is only so much room….to push the snow."
The borough is contending with the storm with roughly half the manpower that other municipalities have to deal with such a situation, said Councilor Greg Wilsbach.
"With what we have I think they have done an excellent job," Wilsbach said.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2016 17:40
Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2016 12:42