Snowplowing: A Successful, Collaborative Service

A hallmark of good government is visible collaborative services. Wherever we go, the mantra for saving costs is sharing services. For towns to absorb costs that could be shared is an avoidable waste of resources. Saying that, I am pleased to share with you the benefits of the current snowplow contract in effect between Onondaga County and the towns. The county benefits, all participating towns benefit, and you and I benefit.

First, some background information. Although not an exciting topic, snowplowing is a vital component of safe roads in Central New York, and a major cost as well. Towns plow not only their own roads, but also many miles of county roads. In the past this has been a point of contention as towns were not provided adequate compensation for plowing county roads. Towns were given small increases (if any), resulting in some towns not participating in the snowplow contract, causing more duplication of services.

That is now history. In the summer of 2012 the Town Supervisors Association negotiated with Onondaga County for a new contract, one that provided for equitable sharing of costs. I was a member of that negotiation process and I am proud to see this contract now in effect. Towns are provided a 2% increase each year for each mile of road plowed ($6,732 per mile in 2013-2014), plus a payment based on the severity of the winter. All towns in the county signed on to the five-year agreement and are now seeing the benefits of this contract, especially the inclusion of the ‘severity clause’.

The severity clause itself will cause over $700,000 to be provided to the local municipalities this year, raising the per-mile payments to almost $9,000. The Town of Cicero will experience additional revenue in the amount of $67,499 for the 2013-2014 winter and the Town of Manlius an additional $26,856. Using the above-mentioned mileage rate, Cicero will receive a total of $270,200 ($202,701 for miles plowed, plus the $67,499 from severity clause). Manlius will receive $107,506 ($80,649 for miles plowed, plus the $26,856 from severity clause). These are significant numbers and a major achievement for the towns and county. It gave me pleasure to co-sponsor this legislation that I helped initiate as Town Supervisor and championed within the Legislature.

In accomplishing this win / win contract special recognition goes to Supervisors Mary Ann Coogan (Camillus), Mark Nicotra (Salina), Damian Ulatowski (Clay), Ed Theobold (Manlius) and previous Deputy and current Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano who actively worked on this project. Also, thanks to Chairman Ryan McMahon and County Executive Joanie Mahoney who advocated strongly for a more equitable contract for the towns. This effort shows that reasonable compromises are possible when all parties are willing to discuss and listen, benefiting the residents of this great County.

As your representative on the Legislature, I continue to seek opportunities to share costs and improve our community. You can always reach me at 699-9585 or at

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