Baxter residents upset with snow removal

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Baxter Estates village residents were not pleased with Dejana Industries’ snow plowing service during last month’s snowstorm, according to village trustees.

The Baxter Estates Board of Trustees said Thursday they had received complaints from residents with the speed in which snow was removed during the Jan. 23 blizzard in which 24 inches of snow was dumped in the area.

“We had complaints with the major storm, which is unusual for us with Dejana,” Baxter Estates Village Mayor Nora Haagenson said. “Dejana has always done an excellent job with the village, but we’ve had numerous complaints this time.”

Baxter Estates Village has contracted Dejana Industries for snow removal for several years. 

“The complaints I heard was there were two to three inches of snow before they even started plowing,” Trustee Chris Ficalora said.

Deputy Mayor Charles Comer agreed,  saying no plow ever went down Harbor View Road, where he lives, until there were more than 2-3 inches of snowfall. 

“The pick up truck did one job and then we never saw it again until way later in the storm,” Comer said. “I called and was explained how several trucks were stuck and I can understand all of that but it was not the job we were accustomed to.”

Dejana Industries representative A.J Banarsee said at the meeting the firm did everything in their power to perform an effective job, but faced several obstacles in removing the snow. 

“For the last few years I was in charge of Port Washington snow,” Banarsee said. “This storm was a challenging one, because it was a blizzard, it was going on for over 24 hours. We did what we could to get it done.” 

Banarsee said snow removal efforts were strained by a heavy snowfall, equipment problems and trucks getting stuck. 

But, he said, he believes they had the areas cleaned up within a few hours after the storm ended,.

“What would happen is you had snow and then you had sleet and it would compact it. The material we would put would be under the snow and sleet so when we would try to get under we couldn’t get no where,” Banarsee said. 

He added that he apologized for the delays and hopes to do a better job next time. 

Trustees expressed concerns that a new contract with the Dejana had something to do with the poor service. 

In past years the village paid the Dejana Industries by the hour for snow removal, but this year they paid the company for the season, officials said. 

“As soon as there’s the slightest bit of snow in the past you guys have been out,” Comer said to Banarsee at the meeting. “On this occasion that did not happen. My concern was well, we’ve changed the way we pay you.”

“When you got paid by the hour I felt we got better service and this year I didn’t see them coming around that often and there was no effort to do a clean up once the storm was over,” said Baxter Estates Trustee Alice Peckelis. 

She added that she understands it was a huge storm but it’s still expected to get done properly. 

Haagenson said they’d like to register a complaint because too many residents were dissatisfied and look into what the contract is costing the village.

Also at the meeting, the trustees approved the removal of trees at 2 Ridgeway Road, 14 Mullon Ave., and 16 Ridgeway Ave. 

In addition, they resolved to eliminate parking anytime on Locust Avenue near the Port Washington Public Library. 

The change, officials said, will be effective as soon as the no parking signs are placed. 

The trustees said they will provide a letter to the library to inform people of the parking change. 

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