This winter has been one of the hardest in the recent past. Maple Heights is one of many cities in the Cleveland area struggling to get by. Nevertheless, Maple Heights Service Director, Dennis Lew, says his crew is giving it 100%.
“Noboby calls in sick. Nobody’s missing work,” says Lew, “They’re all out here working.”
More with Less
And they are learning to do more with less. Maple is now facing a $2.5 million deficit and has no money to spare for equipment repairs and extra personnel. There never seem to be enough people even though everyone is working long hours. If you stop by the service garage on a snow day, you will not find a single mechanic – they are all out plowing.
Even so, that only gives the service department six plows. That means two plows to cover the west side, two to cover the area north of Libby Rd, and two to cover the area south of Libby Rd. The City prioritizes by doing the main streets like Broadway and Libby first. Then, they clear the secondaries like Raymond and Maple Heights Boulevard. Finally, they work on clearing the side streets. All in all, it takes about six hours to hit all the roadways. This means it could be a while before you see a plow on your street.
Salt in the Wound
Not only does Maple Heights have a painfully small crew, but there has been trouble getting enough salt. Morton Salt won the County salt contract this season by having the lowest bid. However, many cities are now regretting their choice to go with the County’s vendor (Morton) because they have been unable to meet the demand. This winter has brought more snow than usual – Maple Heights has already used over 2,600 tons.
“We ordered 600 tons of salt from Morton on February 10th,” Lew told us. But as of this morning, the City has only received 100 tons. “We can’t salt the side streets anymore.” Salt reserves are so low that they are practically down to what is left in the trucks, which they need for weight to push the plows.
Lets all work together
In light of the difficult circumstances, Dennis asks everyone to be patient. “We’re going to get to it…[we are] out there working to get to your street.” He also asked that drivers not drive or cut in between slow plows that are driving in tandem (video).
He cautioned residents against pushing or blowing snow out into the street. “That’s even worse,” said Lew, “because everyone’s driving nice and fast. Then they hit that slick spot, and you have accidents.”
When asked if he had an estimate for when the snow would be over, Dennis quipped, “When tax day is here, it had better be over!” May God be so gracious.
If you think that the plows have missed your street, you can reach the service department during business hours at (216) 587-9015. You can also contact your City Council Respresentative – check out our City Council page.