City storm ready

Wapakoneta Public Works Departments crews have the trucks and equipment primed for the city’s first snowfall this winter as they continue to work on leaf pick-up this fall and they finish other projects this week.

At Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting, Safety-Service Director Bill Rains announced that leaf pick-up is suspended this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but they will be back out cleaning leaves raked to the curb next week.

“We are right where Mr. (Meril) Simpson wants the city to be,” Rains said about the leaf collection goals of the Public Works superintendent. “We have pretty much been able to stay on task. We try to pick up the leaves on the trash route — so if your refuse day is Wednesday then we try to pick up leaves the same day.

“We believe the peak of our leaf pick-up will be next week,” the safety-service director said. “We have a brand new leaf machine and we believe it is more effective. The crews are saying it is a little bit slower, but it does do a much better job.”

The new machine actually utilizes a chute which sucks up the leaves rather then raking them into a spreader. They also have used front-end loaders and trucks.

Rains said the crews have informed him the new machine leaves less residue and leaves the curb and gutter much cleaner after they have picked up the leaves using the older methods.

Rains told councilors Public Works Department crews are finishing tasks this week which need to be done by the end of the year and they are taking advantage of the warmer than normal weather.

They are currently working on storm sewers on Court Street and installing new catch basins where tree roots had entered the system.

While snow flurries have been seen in Wapakoneta, there has been no accumulation on the streets. Rains said crews have prepped the equipment and the trucks for the first snow event.

“The salt spreaders have been calibrated and are ready to go and we are ready to fight the first storm of the winter of 2012 and 2013,” Rains said after Monday’s council meeting. “I have talked to Mr. Simpson about using brine again and we liked the trials we had last year. We are going to be using the brine as a pre-treatment and we also have changed tactics on how many trucks we are going to have out on the streets and what times we will have them out.

“We are going to try and have more snow fighting equipment out after the evening rush hour and try to have them out a little earlier in the morning,” he said. “It is hard enough to plow snow, but it is doubly difficult to do it during rush hour.”

He also said city personnel should be better notified as the Public Works Department building is now wired with ethernet cable for Internet access and they will have access to multiple weather radar to monitor when a snow event will hit.

“They will be able to watch a storm in real time through the Internet,” Rains said. “That is something we didn’t have last year and it should be a big help for the crews which will enable us to clear streets more effectively for residents and motorists.”