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Boston Town Board looks to Erie County, to improve its plow offerings

BOSTON — Several of those present at the town of Boston’s last board meeting had the same issue in mind on: the plowing of county roads in Boston.

Town resident Ron Yormick addressed the town board on Feb. 20, concerning the condition of county-maintained roads.

“I want to thank [Highway Superintendent Robert] Telaak and his crew for the plows, the roads and everything, in the town of Boston, how good it’s been plowed and everything and salted and sanded,” Yormick said.

However, the speaker said that these sentiments could not be applied to the county roads. “I think Boston State Road, from Zimmerman down to Townline, south, is just in deplorable condition,” he said. “Not only are the shoulders just a mess, I think it’s just not plowed and not maintained well.”

He said that, as a mail carrier, he can “always judge how bad the road is going to be, because usually the state roads are dry, the town roads are wet and the county roads ... aren’t touched. I’m on those roads constantly.”

Yormick said he believed this situation will not improve, as the weather gets warmer. “Come springtime, they’ll be dangerous, for bicyclists and walkers in general,” he said. “That road is just not maintained, at all.”

According to Yormick, this problem extends to more than just one area of Boston. “Most of the county roads in this town are a mess,” he said. “They’re just not maintained and I know, firsthand, because I’m on them all the time. The only roads that are maintained well are the town roads and the state road.”

Yormick brought up two recent collisions, which occurred on the aforementioned roads. “I just missed those accidents the other day, by 5 minutes,” he said. “But I knew, coming down there, something was going to happen. It was just a sheet of ice and the county plows are just not around. I don’t see plows and [the roads] are not maintained very well.”

Supervisor Martin Ballowe said that he shared Yormick’s sentiment, having toured the specified streets, earlier that day. “I was able to tour the roads with the highway superintendent today, because I had some concerns, and I actually had a meeting with Councilman [Larry] Murtha and we talked about the same thing: about our roads, how there’s a lack of plowing,” he said.

“It just so happens that I came up at 8:30 [a.m.]; I live up on that hill and, at 8:30, that road was still not plowed,” he added. “There was an accident on it yesterday, right on that bridge right there, coming up on Zimmerman.”

According to Ballowe, the board informed Erie County Legislator John Mills about the situation and will be pursuing it further. “We’ll definitely put calls into or do whatever you have to, because we have noticed our roads have been neglected for the plowing,” Ballowe said.

Telaak sent members of his department out, to treat and salt a state road, after one of the recent accidents. “The plowing has been very poor, this year,” Telaak said. “The shoulders of the roads have been very poor, this year. We had a truck today on Omphalius Road, which is a county road, which we plow. It was snowing and blowing up there – it was 4 o’clock this morning. He got off on the shoulder, just a little bit off the pavement; the shoulders are very soft, because it’s been wet, and he got sucked into the ditch.

“It’s a hardship, getting these trucks out, when they’re stuck in a ditch, in the middle of the night,” he added. “The roads are slippery and it’s snowing. It’s just a mess. All of our roads. It’s just the county roads are in very bad shape and [the county] should be put on notice about fixing them. Their ditches are very deep, in spots. They just don’t fix nothing, anymore.”

In other board matters:
– Councilman Jay Boardway has spent the last couple of weeks contacting individuals about New York state gun control legislation, which has been a topic of the board members’ concern, during the last month. “It’s going to affect all the gun owners in town,” Boardway said. “We’ve got the proposal ready. The public notice is out for the resolution, for our next board meeting. Anyone who wants to be heard, either for or against the various provisions of that new law, we are going to have a meeting at our next meeting, so please feel free to come on down.”

Boardway said that the town board is prepared to approve the resolution, which asks New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to repeal the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013. “Hopefully, we can have kind of a good turnout that night and just let our voices be heard,” he said. “As I’ve said before, they do stuff in Albany that we don’t necessarily always have any input in, but this one was egregious. This one was just behind our backs and now they’re all worried that us little people are going to have something to say about it and we’ll have to have something to say about it. So I encourage anybody to be here at our next meeting, to take care of that.”

– Boston resident and New York Senator Patrick Gallivan representative Mitch Martin informed the board that Gallivan had received its letter, requesting a speed reduction on Route 391. “I just wanted to let you know we’re working on that,” Martin said.

Murtha told Martin, “We’re going to be needing the influence of Senator Gallivan on a further extension of another speed reduction, from Zimmerman to where the 45 mph sign is, to the south. There’s so much more development there and there are no sidewalks, and there are guardrails forcing people onto the streets.”

Murtha added that the town has experienced several rollover accidents, in that vicinity. “It’s just a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “People have been killed.”

Since that is a county road, Martin said he would work with Mills, on the project, but suggested the board “at least forward a letter.”

– The board received the service award point submissions from the Patchin Volunteer Fire Company. Out of approximately 50 active members, 23 have earned enough points for service award credit, this year. Those points were approved preliminarily, so that they could be posted at the fire company for 30 days, for the members to review.

– The board approved William Darling’s requests for a second accessory building on South Abbott Road. The request had already been run by Code Enforcement Officer William Ferguson, whose department did not object.

– The board approved Jeneen McSkimming’s request “to enter into a three-year contract with Proserve [Technology Solutions].” This company hosts the town’s online assessment system, per an agreement that expired on Feb. 26. The renewal amount stayed the same from the past year, at $1,937.

– Dolores Valentine’s letter of resignation was acknowledged by the board. Valentine had served as the assistant nutrition program substitute. Her resignation took effect on Feb. 21.

– Dave Bowen’s request to be on the planning board was approved.

– Jason Keding’s request to be reappointed to the conservation advisory board was also carried.

– The board approved the Boston Democratic Club’s request to utilize the Boston Town Hall and town fields on March 30, for an Easter egg hunt.

– A request from Kristie Paxson to use the town park and Lions facility was tabled, pending further information regarding her “dog benefit.”

The board will reconvene on Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. That meeting will be held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.

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