Snow to be plowed sooner this winter

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 27, 2011

 Eve Newmann shovels out the end of her driveway Feb. 23 after her street, Boulder, was finally plowed three days after a 9-inch snowfall.

Eve Newmann shovels out the end of her driveway Feb. 23 after her street, Boulder, was finally plowed three days after a 9-inch snowfall.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Crews will aim to clear snow from all roadways in Troy within 24 hours after a snowfall of more than 4 inches this winter.

Under a contract the Troy City Council unanimously approved with the Road Commission for Oakland County Oct. 17, the city will clear county roadways for $249,691, of which 35 percent will be paid to the city in December and the remaining 65 percent in March.

South Boulevard, Long Lake, Big Beaver, Maple, a portion of 14 Mile, Dequindre, John R, Livernois, Crooks and Adams roads all fall under county jurisdiction. The city has jurisdiction over and maintains Coolidge, Rochester, Wattles, Square Lake and Stephenson roads. It will cost the city $425,000 to clear snow from all city roadways within the 24-hour window.

When the council discussed the matter last month, Troy Public Works Director Tim Richnak said the city spent about $92,000 more than the county stipend in 2008 and 2009 to clear county roads.

Last year, because of budget constraints in the wake of plummeting property values, the city changed the 24-hour protocol to 72 hours. Many residents complained that their streets were still not plowed three days after a 9-inch snowfall Feb. 20.

“The Board of Road Commissioners and I extend our appreciation to you, the City Council, and your personnel for the fine work that has been done. We will continue to cooperate in any way to provide our citizens with the best road system possible,” Road Commission Highway Maintenance Director Darryl Heid said in a letter to Richnak.

Mayor Louise Schilling said she’s encouraged by the letter, but hopes that at some point the county will pay the full cost the city incurs clearing county roads.

“I’d like them to pay the full amount,” Schilling said.

The council began discussions to restore the 24-hour protocol after Troy City Manager John Szerlag revealed earlier this fall that employee concessions and early retirements had resulted in $2.6 million going back in the city’s general fund. Also, during the budget process this spring, eight employees in the Public Works Department, slated to be cut, were restored, which Richnak said was critical in returning to the 24-hour protocol. The eight employees were necessary, according to a International City/County Management Association study, which stated the department was not sustainable with the planned cuts.

“The Employment Retirement Incentive Plan employee initiative not only reduced reliance on fund balance, but we now have projected revenues exceeding projected expenditures for the first two years of our three-year budget,” Szerlag told the council at a study session following the Oct. 17 meeting. “Thanks to our employees, we are able to reinstate our 24-hour snow removal protocol on county major and local streets in Troy.”