Syracuse DPW Commissioner Pete O'Connor defended the agencies performance this winter at todays meeting. O'Connor pointed out that this has so far been the fourth snowiest winter on record and the coldest since 1904. O'Connor says, due to cutbacks, the DPW is operating outdated equipment. He says 14 of the city's 25 plows are operating past their expected life expectancy and need to be replaced.
The problem is made worse by a shortage of mechanics. He says the number of mechanics is down 20% and the agency is having a tough time filling the positions due to a national shortage of mechanics.
In regards to complaints about potholes, O'Connor told the common council that they have been filling them as quickly as they could and that the cold weather this winter has not only made the roads worse it has made it more difficult to patch them.
O'Connor did admit that some judgement mistakes had been made this winter due to inexperience on the overnight shift. A problem he says he does not expect to happen next winter. Councilor Lance Denno who had called for the meeting after receiving numerous complaints this winter, says he is satisfied with the DPW's explanation. He also says he will work with the DPW and the city to try and secure funds to buy at least 3 new plows.
Complaints about unfilled potholes are on the rise, and at least one Syracuse Common Councilor wants to know why.
Councilor Lance Denno, chair of the Public Works Committee, says the number of complaints to the city about potholes and other road maintenance issues has increased this year. He has called a meeting at City Hall to discuss the maintenance and condition of the city's streets.
Pete O'Connor from the Syracuse Department of Public Works has been invited to speak at the meeting. The DPW has been asked to cut its capital budget. Denno says he wants to find out if the DPW has cut back too far on services.
"We need to save as much money as possible but at the same time we need to make sure the roads are safe and in a usable condition," he says
Denno says if the DPW's budget has been cut back too far, says it may be time for the city to look at restoring funds.