Idiot County Legislators/Administrators....

weimedog

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#1
Any of you folks work for a municipality? Cortland County has had this knack for destroying the good things they have and the new legislators were voted in to try and change things....but they are no different. Just try to re-lable the same stuff with a Republican tag instead of a Democrat tag..amazing:

The budget is aprox $21,000,000.000 dollars

State mandated social services are 11,272,380.00 of that.
Highway department is aprox 5,000,000 and the rest is broken up between more social sevices, police, and who knows waht.

So the legislator's solution is to cut back the Highway Department. The NEW administrator see's the Highway Department as a liability that needs to be eliminated to what ever extent possible. Some of the new legislator's want to pay back their supporters by splitting services from the county Highway Dept. to the towns, some want to pay their contruction / contractor freinds back by privatizing functions, and some want to start their own companies to take over highway department functions....net net is they ALL want a piece of the highway pie......!

All of this is being pandered to the pubic as "cost savings"

Understand there are 250 miles of roads, most need COMPLETE rebuilds as the have only had oil and stone for the last 50 years. Also this county is one of the few who has already implemented one person plowing....most have a driver and wingman....also many of the current employee's are close to retirement...Not much of an encentive to get new blood to learn the ropes from those who have plowed those roads for ever.

I was a contractor for many years. I understand that mentality and the cost of doing business. Insurance and liability is expensive in right of way situations...NO way a contractor can do it less. The liability of a contractor vs. county government is rather different..and the mind set is different as well.

There is no way the Towns can do it cheaper either....same expence for employee's, trucks, fuel, etc....Most of the towns also support 50-100 miles of roads in addition to parking lots and their specific issues. They don't want to take on more.

The Highway Department is one of the few good things left in this county. They have an amazing range of capabilities and rather than gutting this I wonder why our legislators don't bend this to the task of improving the county...

Snow plowing alone allows business to continue while we endure our 6 month winters...no momma's driving around, and businesses suffer..when they suffer the tax base suffers. Less sales tax, income tax from those businesses, and when they die (as many have over the last few years here) property taxes suffer. Also if folks don't think they can get to work, they won't buy places here. Property values go down. Harder the attract new businesses...it goes on and on. Rough roads, increase in a families automobile expenses...

This county gets a huge amount of revenue by plowing NYS State roads. The legislators want to stop doing that. ...Even as the NYS DOT is cutting back their own staff. Another amazing thing. NYS has huge budjet issues of their own. Both the counties and the States problems are centered around very expensive social programs implemented when times were better.....so instead of fixing that, its politically easier to attack the donut eating county/State highway departments.

What this all boils down to is a power grab and political favor payback....at the tax payers expence. They will sell this crap as reducing governemtn etc etc. and then the taxes will not go down while the have to pay for the building of alternative solutions. A huge shell game.

What a bunch of political garbage. Enough to turn a hard core Republican into a Democrat!

Any of you have similar situations where you work/live?
 
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XRpredator

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#2
Thankfully, our County Highway District is totally seperate from the rest of county government. "Special Taxing District", and our annual budget is about half, but we only employ about 24 guys. We have approximately 600 miles of road to maintain.

Don't think those County Commissioners wouldn't like to get their greasy paws on our jingle, though. :| I feel for you, Dog.
 

weimedog

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#3
Do you guys have winters like we have here? (Where are you?). We have had plow trucks out almost every day for the last 2 months, many time 24 hours a day. I have run the last four weekends in a row because of snow. How do you guys handle the plowing where you are? Our winter started in November and will likely last until April. Last year we had plows out until May in some area's.

We also have to have crews "pushing back" the snow piles to make room for new snow. A typical day (today) was something like this:

13 plow trucks out at 3:00 back at 11:00 (hopefully). Manytimes those guys will run until 5:00 sometimes 6:00 because of the storm conditions. Night crew (5 guys) comes in at 5:00 and takes out enough trucks (hopefully) to cover State roads and major county roads until 3:00. In addition to our 250 miles, we plow another hundered or so miles of State roads. (very profitable) If we have good weather, Night Shift does things like change oil, plow blades, wing blades, etc. If we have great weather (no snow for a couple of days) we do our own truck maintenance, try to get things right for the next storm. We also do things like repair mail boxes :eek: , Fix guard rails, get rid of ice area's that mash the wings, etc.

Mean while the guys in at 7:00 took out 3 loaders, 1 road grader, 2 gradall's, and one excavator to push back the snow banks that have grown too big for the plow trucks to shelf and push back. Another road grader, loader, and snowblower maintains the County Airport Runways and parking lot.(part of the highway budget by the way). Another loader manns the salt operations as we supply salt to several towns in addition to our trucks. Another couple of trucks are hauling salt to towns as we supply them and we have 4 of the 13 plow/sander trucks at town barns to keep them closer to their routes. Sometimes the guys in at 7:00 drive if required (sometimes the 3:00 call guys have issues). If there are any guys left over, they drive plow trucks (not plow/sander's as they are top heavy and they don't handle ditchs well...they tip over) to push back on those nastier routes. Tomorrow we will get another storm. Another 3:00 call is a certainty.

Today was SUPPOSED to be a "push back day". When we have days where we don't have to call out for plowing everyone attacks the drifts and push back operations. My route will loose another 2-3 ft of road in some area's as my snow banks are already 3-6 ft high. One the State roads, the guard rails are already packed so unless the snow goes over, we can't clear the roads. A law suite has been filed in Syracuse against the NYS Dot because snow packed around the rails acted like a ramp and two seperate accidents ended in fatalities when folks went over. Got every one nervous.

We slowly loose the battle against the drifts until late March when we start gaining ground again. Some counties are in real trouble up here in NYS because they can't keep the roads open and they run out of salt & room to push snow. Not because of budget...but they can't get the trucks through. (Check out those counties just east of the great lakes.) We get "lake effect snows" even when there is no storm front. Cold dry Canadian air just grabs moisture from the lakes and drops it here.

We have two roads down to one lane yesterday for a while because of drifting. (My hill has a constant 20-30mph wind building huge drifts. Two loaders are working in front of my place all day today) The drifts I was working on yesterday were over 12-15 ft high. We took an excavator and moved. aprox 1/8 mile of it back aprox 30 ft.

We will work at that pace until April...then all the heaved roads will need patching up, ditches cleaned from the spring washouts, trees removed, bent guardrails from plowing repaired, oil and stone, replacing clogged culverts. ...you know the routine.

I think the structure of the Highway departments in this area are about the business snow removal. We already sub out much of the road construction operations to a large asphalt company.
 
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XRpredator

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#4
damn, you guys are busy.

I'm here in North Idaho, and while we've had a pretty significant snowfall, we had a pretty good January Thaw that got rid of quite a bit.

Generally, we only go out when there's at least 4 inches on the ground, or drifting. We have 3 maintenance sheds, and each has a foreman that makes the call as to when the guys go out. we will usually try to get all the plowing done at night, since it's easier to see, but sometimes conditions dictate otherwise. We also try not to go out until it stops snowing for a bit, because we dont' want to feel like we are beating our heads against the wall.

Anyhow, we run ten to twelve patrols (graders) set up with wings and front plows (either V or 2-way) and twelve trucks. We probably dont' have near the paved mileage (90 miles out of 600) as you guys, so we don't have near the pavement maintenance, but we do a lot of grading during the summer, plus a lot of chip-sealing.

We'll probably be mostly done with the snow come March, thankfully.
 

weimedog

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#5
All ours are high use paved roads (mostly secondary highways) so we have to keep them clean. Also we are a very hilly area .. not mountains like where I used to live (Colorado) but lots of steep hills. The school bus routes have to be kept clean as possible during the hours they run. Most of the schools have used too many snow days and now are cutting back or eliminating winter break vacation. Thise school bus routes dictated our shifts. The state roads have to be kept clean as well per contract. The state wants coverage every 3 hours at a minimum for the duration of a storm until clean if possible.

We have no dirt roads, some of the towns have those and they handle the grading.
(When I was a excvation contractor in Colorado I did the maintenance on about 10 miles of dirt roads spread around three private subdivisions....I had a grader and a few dump trucks to resurface them every year.)

The winters here are brutal as compared to where I was. The amount to percipitation is many times greater. The fequency is a competely different league. We plow non stop for weeks at a time trying to keep up. I looked at our last three weeks and we had 4 days where plows didn't have to go out.

The frost heaving and water issues play havic with the roads. The summers are used to try and repair as much as times and budgets allow. Interestly enough Counties Highway Departments in southern New York simply don't have the snow (rough winters) therefore are much smaller in size and budget. Winters are the reason our towns and county highway departments are structured the way they are in CNY.
 

slideways11

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#6
Remember that politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed frequently!