Mayor: Wallingford Town Crews Sufficient To Handle Storm

The town didn't need to bring in outside contractors to help clean up after the blizzard, the mayor said Wednesday in response to accusations that the Public Works Department couldn't handle the task alone.


The town's Public Works Department did an admirable job cleaning up after last weekend's blizzard and that there was no need to go out and hire outside contractors to aid in the cleanup effort, Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. told the Town Council Wednesday.

Dickinson's remarks came after Balsam Ridge Circle resident Geno Zandri suggested that going outside of the department and hiring contractors might have made the cleanup go faster and gotten residents on the road quicker than happened this week.

"For the size of this storm, many of the surrounding town hired outside contractors to get the snow cleared," Zandri said.

"A number of towns use private contractors all the time," Dickinson said. "Wallingford has not done that and I don't believe we ever have."

The town has 22 plow routes with 30 trucks and five payloaders, he said, which is ample enough equipment to clear town roads.

"Any town that uses private contractors probably doesn't have the number of equipment we have," he said. "If we felt there was the need for it, we would have done it."

If the town were to have hired outside contractors, they would have had to have large trucks and equipment to deal with the amount of snow that fell, Dickinson said, which not all contractors have. 

With some cul-de-sacs waiting three days to get done, the town should review how the storm was handled and how it could have been handled better, Zandri said.

"It's something we need to sit down and go over," he said.

"It comes down to priorities," Dickinson said. "Most of the time there was barely one lane of travel cleared and with the amount of snow that fell, we couldn't be everywhere.

"We tried to make single passages so that fire and police could get through," he said. "As it is, we had to take two people to the hospital in pickup trucks and had the National Guard shoveling to reach houses to assist people." 

Jason Zandri February 15, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Just as a point of reference - Routes 5, 150 (Center Street), 68, etc are state roads handled by the state plows. I do not believe for the most part that you will find the Wallingford Department of Public Works taking care of those roads.
jamcfarland54@yahoo.com February 15, 2013 at 04:19 AM
One lane does not allow for school buses to safely pass through our neighborhoods to pick up children for school.
Ray Carolin February 15, 2013 at 04:36 AM
As a visitor to Wallingford I was unable to leave the residence I was in until Monday afternoon. The street was not plowed for 3 days.On Sunday afternoon my hosts children took a sled and went to town to get food. Wallingford experienced an unprecedented weather event. Many of your main roads were plowed by state plows - not Wallingford plows. Your Mayor suggests you have 30 snow plows.And it took 3 days to plow an EMS single path to my friends development? Wallingford experienced a weather event that resulted in a community emergency. I saw no Community Response Plan in effect. The Mayor was unable to communicate with residents because he has seen to it that Wallingford remains in the dark ages by denying the city including the council, dept heads, employees and police and emergency service departments from communicating with citizens in real time because he has blocked the use of the greatest communication instrument of the 21st century - the internet - email - and web access.I was at the home of a council member. He never received a call from the Mayor or other city official. City officials should have received continual updates so they would be able to communicate relevant information to the local citizens.Wallingford needs an Emergency Service Plan . You must demand that your city gets out of the Dark Ages and demand an internet presence with email access to all. Ray Carolin
Dianne Saunders February 15, 2013 at 02:15 PM
FYI most of us were NOT comfy and warm in our houses....WE taxpayers were out there shoveling, clearing ice dams and shoveling off roofs, clearing our driveway entrances from the street, and helping clear out neighbors, all by hand AND LOSING TIME FROM OUR PAID JOBS TO DO THAT...I have plenty of respect for town employees and the work they do, but EVERYONE I KNOW was out working in this snow for several days. Most taxpayers were NOT sitting 'comfy and warm in our houses while they were cold and wet WORKING the entire time'. The Public Works people deserve all the overtime they were paid, and no one is complaining about their performance. We are discussing communication and preparedness.
Ray Carolin February 15, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Lisa: I think that it is wonderful that you personally believe that the town did a "great" job. Sadly, that is not the shared experience of many other Wallingford residents. To discount or attempt to negate the experiences of others is somewhat arrogant and ignorant. FYI, I was stuck in a neighborhood that did not see a snow plow for three days. My host family had to take a sled and walk into town to obtain groceries. When neighbors realized that no one from the city was coming to plow the roads they took matters into their own hands and plowed a one lane path 1/4 of a mile to a main street that had been plowed. So, your suggestion that " most everything was clear on Sunday" is laughable. Ray Carolin Delray Beach, FL


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