Roadways trump sidewalks

The sand pile at Darling Field is shown on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

GLOVERSVILLE –City officials are hoping a change in the sand barrel structure will save time for the Department of Public Works and save taxpayers money.

The approximately 200 sand barrels used to be located at various areas throughout the city, but a change was made at the end of 2017 that saw them placed only on hills.

In all, around 40 barrels were placed around the city this winter instead of the typical 200.

Those who want sand, now need to go to the sand-salt mixture behind the city’s transit department on West Fulton Street or to the sand pile at the parking lot at Darling Field just off Newman Street.

Mayor Dayton King announced on his Facebook page in December that the city would no longer be putting out as many sand barrels as they had in previous years.

Speaking Tuesday, he said ultimately the city is not responsible for sidewalks, with the exeception of those in front of city property.

“At the end of the day, the city is not responsible for the sidewalks, we are [responsible] for the roads. I certainly respect people [who] had the sand barrels for a long time,” King said.

King mentioned Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull’s comments during Tuesday’s meeting that a number of people are currently out for medical reasons in the DPW department.

Trumbull said Tuesday that a couple workers are currently out on medical leave from the agency and new employees are working the plows.

“As Dale mentioned, we have a limited staff, we have people out. At the end of the day, we would not have been able to keep up with them. We couldn’t keep up with them before,” King said. “My office and the DPW office get calls saying ‘My sand barrel is empty.’ So we prevented some of that.”

King said people will eventually get used to the barrels not being put out.

“We’d love to have them here, but when you have to make decisions of whether to plow and salt the roads, or fill sand barrels, it’s a pretty easy decision,” King said.

The stated reason for the change was to give more time to city DPW workers to cut back snow banks on main thoroughfares and repair storm drains. In addition, King said the sand gets into the storm drains and can cause clogs.

King said the decision could cut down on overtime as well for the DPW department.

“We’re doing 40 sand barrels, versus a couple hundred,” King said. “It’s something we would love to do. I think we had 50 DPW employees years ago, and we just can’t keep up with it.”

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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