BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Mayor Mary Marvin writes a weekly column. It is being reprinted by The Bronxville Daily Voice.
The Village’s Department of Public Works is particularly busy this time of year as spring signals planting, paving and general clean up of our Village.
An incredibly lean and hardworking team of only 13 gentlemen take care of every maintenance and beautification need in our Village. In addition, we have six gentlemen who exclusively handle the sanitation and recycling duties. In the past, this department had a complement of 23.
Our road-paving effort, the largest spring/summer expense by far, is jointly bid with Eastchester and Tuckahoe and awarded to an outside contractor. This year, we expect to spend $500,000 on curbing, paving, sidewalk and pothole repair. As point of interest, potholes, which develop during the winter months, are repaired with temporary cold mix asphalt due to the fact that the “hot mix” is not available until the second week in April. When the “hot mix” becomes available, these repairs become permanent.
Per New York State Department of Transportation regulations, the “blacktop” we purchase is a mix of stone, petroleum, sand and 20 percent recycled or used blacktop. Currently, road resurfaces have a 7 to 10 year life, much shorter than just 20 years ago and most likely caused by increased traffic, and some believe the durability of the “recycled” mix.
In the recycling mode, Bronxville continues to place in the top three of the 45 municipalities in Westchester County in the percentage of our refuse that is recycled. Not only is it good environmental stewardship, but recycling translates into real financial savings. The County of Westchester charges each municipality to haul garbage to the “burn facility” in Peekskill versus recyclables, which are collected gratis and resold for profit helping the county’s bottom line. The Village has ordered 500 new recycling bins to be available in approximately four weeks that can be purchased at cost for $10 per bin in the Public Works Department.
Many properties, including that of the Village and School, now use only organic products on the green spaces. However, you will still see the little yellow flags when even organic fertilizer is applied, as it can still be caustic for children and pets. Logic says there should be different color flags to differentiate between pesticides and organic matter, but the Department of Environmental Conservation has yet to come up with a new labeling system.
This winter, many residents have suffered through constant street openings, often made by Con Edison, United Water or Verizon, complete with noise, metal plates and stripes of neon paint. The speed of repair has been particularly frustrating to our Department of Public Works as excavations have remained open for months. This delay is primarily due to weather conditions and the fact that in cost cutting measures, most utilities have reduced or eliminated their own construction/repair departments and now bid out the work to independent contractors.
The unattractive (and not water soluble!) neon paint markings that accompany these repairs are required by law. Every utility must mark off all underground lines when excavation is done. Homeowners must also do the same even for the smallest of projects including irrigation systems and dog fences. If a project involves excavation, homeowners must call 811 (the Underground Utility Protection Service), three to eight days before commencement of the project, and the staff there will alert all utilities. The Village itself uses 811 services now on a regular basis as the Trustees have committed to a systemic program of sewer infrastructure location, repair, catch basin cleaning and maintenance.
By the end of summer, our entire storm and sanitary sewer system will be digitally mapped, allowing us to respond to system problems more efficiently. In a preventive measure, we now have a standardized program to inject foam into pipes to dissolve tree roots, which are the common cause of breaks and blockages in the Village.
This spring, the Department of Public Works will be planting street trees in the public spaces throughout the Village. Kindly call our Department of Public Works at 337-7338 if there is a need for a replacement tree near your home. In requesting a tree, please be advised that our strategic planting will eliminate the need for utilities to trim the tree in future years.
Our Department of Public Works fleet has been in the neighborhoods collecting yard waste, branches and other spring clean-up debris. After this initial foray, we ask that you bag grass clippings throughout the summer. Bagged grass can be picked up more often preventing the piles from emanating odors or being swept into storm sewers after a heavy rain. Our Department of Public Works staff is working with local landscapers to change to the bag format as they must do in most other communities.
We will also be striping some streets and we ask for your patience as the work must be done on nights or weekends when traffic is lighter and parking spaces are empty.
Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to enhance our Village.