EAST LIVERPOOL - Snow removal - or more specifically, the lack of - dominated City Council's meeting Monday night, with business owners and even one council member saying the current plowing system is not working.
The issue was raised by Brian Kerr, owner of PC Doctors on Fifth Street, who said, although street crews are doing what they can with the equipment they have, a lack of a grid system and lack of a mechanic to keep trucks running contribute to streets not being plowed in a timely manner.
Chris DeSarro, owner of several businesses, agreed, saying sidewalks were almost impassable and snow had been piled in a handicapped parking zone.
DeSarro asked about the feasibility of having a front-end loader cleaning snow from the streets.
Councilman Scott Barrett, street committee chairman, agreed that while the street department is doing a "great job," there is a "major problem," which he attributed to lack of supervision and lack of proper knowledge.
He said a grid system, where the same worker drives the same truck in the same area is helpful by the driver knowing the location of such things as fire hydrants.
Auditor Kim Woomer said the city once had a full-time mechanic but he was unable to work on the large trucks, which had to be sent to a shop.
"I can find 10 people who can do that job," Barrett said, adding that the road crew in St. Clair Township - where he serves as road foreman - work on the trucks themselves.
Deputy Service-Safety Director Dan Galeoti said the city has just four trucks and by the time they are on the road a short time, only two are usually operable.
He said the department has a young worker serving as mechanic and that, in order to do a better job, it needs more money, saying workers scrap everything to get money for equipment.
Hiring a mechanic would also require tools and a computer, he noted.
Mayor Jim Swoger also addressed the issue, saying he would be glad to meet with Barrett's committee so it can show him where money can come from to hire a mechanic and buy equipment, saying he believes the street crew has done a good job.
Councilman Ray Perorazio said he had called Galeoti five times about snow removal and all five times the department responded quickly, pointing out the city is "nothing but hills" and they have to be taken care of.
Councilman Sherrie Curtis, finance chairman, said there are more than 250 miles of street in the city with a great number of those on hillsides designed during the days of horses and buggies.
She said the street department has done a good job and noted that every time a council member or other official calls workers to do a street, that takes them away from the set plan for removal.
Curtis pointed out council has had requests for more dispatchers, firemen, cruisers, employees in the planning department and now a mechanic but said there is no magic wand to meet all of those requests.