Slippery Conditions

A city of Jamestown snow plow removing snow and ice from the street. County and city officials are disagreeing on how much the county should pay the city to remove snow and ice from county highways in the city. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The city of Jamestown and Chautauqua County officials are once again in a disagreement.

On Monday, Jeff Lehman, city public works director, told the Jamestown City Council Public Works Committee that there is a difference of a opinion between the two entities on how much the contract for removing snow and ice on county highways in the city should increase annually. He said usually every three years the county and city agree on a new contract that includes a 5 percent annual increase in how much the county pays the city to maintain county highways during the winter in the city. However, in the latest negotiations between the city and county, Lehman said county officials are now asking for the annual increased payment to only be 3 percent.

Lehman said the city is the only municipality in the county with a similar agreement with the county to not agree to the new terms.

He said prior to receiving the offer from county officials, no notice was given to city officials that there would be a change in how much payment they would receive.

Both Tom Nelson, Ward 6 councilman, and Andrew Liuzzo, At-Large councilman, said the city cannot afford to have the revenue they receive from the county reduced. Lehman said he will contact county officials to let them know the decision of the city Public Works Committee.

Middle, Jeff Lehman, city public works director, discusses the contract between county and city officials for snow and ice removal on county highways in the city. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The disagreement between city and county officials follows another difference in opinion that became public earlier this year. In September, Lehman discussed the dredging that was done last year at McCrea Point Park to assist with boats and to ensure that the Chautauqua Bell would be able to dock. In July 2017, a day-long festival rededicating McCrea Point and the Municipal Boat Landing following improvements to the park was held, which featured rides on the Chautauqua Bell.

Lehman said 548 tons of material was dredged out of the Chadakoin River and hauled away by the county to the landfill. He said the material was sent to the landfill as daily cover, which is the name given to the layer of compressed soil or earth laid on top of a day’s deposition of waste on an operational landfill site. The cover helps prevent the interaction between the waste and the air, reducing odors and enabling a firm base upon vehicles may operate.

It was the city’s position that they didn’t have to pay the county for disposing of the material because there is no charge for daily cover, Lehman said. He said officials from the county, city and the state Department of Environmental Conservation even tested the dredged material to make ensure it could be used as daily cover before it was removed from the Chadakoin River.

However, county officials billed city officials $14,243 to dispose of the material. Lehman said city and county officials negotiated for a year before city officials decided to pay the bill.

In other Public Works Committee business, Lehman discussed how there is an increase problem with people parking cars on the terrace, the area between the street and the sidewalk, throughout the city. He said it has especially become an issue around Love Elementary School, with the cars blocking the sight lines of drivers around where young children are entering and leaving the building. He added that parking on the terrace is illegal and that city officials are going to start cracking down on this issue by ticketing vehicles in violation.

“This is against the code. To avoid getting a ticket, don’t do this,” Nelson said during the council’s full work session.