Dusting up questions about Saratoga Springs Public Works services
What I didn't understand was why another DPW truck, a small dump truck, was parked on the street with its motor running. Just as I decided to ask the driver what he was doing, the truck pulled away. A few minutes later, however, it was parked around the corner, and I could hear the motor. So, rake in hand, I decided to inquire.
A very polite and friendly fellow at the wheel explained that his job is to collect the dirt from the sweeper when the sweeper if full. He said he needs to keep the motor running so that his CB radio will be working when the sweeper driver needs to reach him.
I'm in favor of swept streets, but I've got to wonder: Is this always the way it's been done, and is it the best way? It clearly involves a lot of just sitting there. How much gas is used (not to mention the air pollution created) by the running motor? How often are all of the city streets swept? What does this and other DPW services cost?
These and similar questions are ones that DPW Commissioner Skip Scirocco should be prepared to spell out when the 2011 proposed city budget is presented on Oct. 5.
It was disconcerting to learn the other day that he says a lack of DPW staff prevents the city from having the front of the Canfield Casino in Congress Park swept on weekend mornings, even though smokers at night-time parties dump butts outside the building.
When and where to sweep (or do repairs, or pick up yard debris, and so on) are decisions that relate to human resources, management and priorities. There is no shortage of desired services.