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Residents, Politicians React to Storm Clean-up

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. – The Department of Public Works faced a tall task cleaning up Saturday's snowstorm that left thousands without power and downed trees throughout New Castle.

Town Supervisor candidate Bob Kirkwood believes overtime cutbacks were reflected in the clean-up efforts. Kirkwood said cutting overtime for town workers was short-sighted and that “at some point you have to have people there to plow the streets.”

“It seems like everyone, including the town, opted against getting people out and tried to save money on overtime,” said Kirkwood. “Obviously for budget reasons, not much was undertaken on Sunday. What happens, therefore, is we start to compromise service.”

Kirkwood cited Pleasantville, where his insurance company's office is located, as an area that cleaned up better than New Castle.

“The debris along the side was really dangerous,” said Kirkwood, of Route 117. “Especially traveling at night when you couldn’t see the branches. It was scary.”

Despite the lack of extra hours, the department believes it was not adversely affected in its clean-up of the snowstorm.

“We’ve had crews out initially around the clock and now extended hours into the evening each day,” said Scott Smith of the Department of Public Works. “We have been working hand-in-hand with Con Edison, trying to get as many of the roads opened and powered back up as quickly as possible.”

While the department began working on Saturday when the snow fell, the clean-up was delayed in some areas because of downed trees that became tangled with power lines. Once wiring became involved, the town had to wait for Con Ed crews to clear the wires. Most roads have since been cleared, though some sidewalks remain covered in debris.

Hidenao Abe complimented town officials on The Daily Chappaqua's Facebook page. Abe said he was pleased Horace Greeley High School was opened for hot showers, providing shelter at the Community Center and plowing most of the major roads by Sunday.

"It would be unfair to rate the town's actions as awful, power restoration is not the responsibility of the town government," he wrote.

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