City of Syracuse with only 13 plows available ahead of storm

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The City of Syracuse Department of Public works is down nearly 50 percent of its plow trucks as we prepare for more snow in Central New York.

Wednesday, during a meeting with city counselors, DPW Commissioner Jeremy Robinson laid out the facts about the depleted fleet of snow removal vehicles.

“It’s not good. It’s not great but we are plugging away,” Robinson said simply. “If we get 10 [inches], we are going to need the constituents to bear with us. “

Robinson said of the 24 total plow trucks the city has, only 13 are available as of Wednesday.

During any given storm, Robinson says six to 10 trucks break down due to the age of the plows. Some of them are more than 11 years old.

Two trucks that had been on the road for 20 years were just retired by the city.

During any snow event, DPW has 16 different “rush routes” it must maintain that take priority over side streets and neighborhoods.

Those route are emergency routes and high traffic areas in the city, according to Robinson. If the fleet were at full-strength, Robinson says 13 plows would be designated just for the “rush routes.”

On Wednesday, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh appointed Richard Devesty as Citywide Director of Fleet Operations.

Devesty will be responsible for managing the maintenance and acquisition of all city vehicles and truck equipment.

He has nearly three decades of experience as a former service manager for ABF Freight Systems Inc. Devesty attended Wednesday’s meeting.

As a former service manager for ABF Freight Systems Inc. (ABF), Devesty has over 28 years of experience in LTL (less-than-truckload) freight, logistics, and supply chain management. In Devesty’s previous role, he oversaw planning for all ABF facilities. He was also responsible for fleet maintenance repairs, and preventative maintenance of ABF’s equipment, according to the City of Syracuse.

The City will receive 10 new trucks this year.

Five will come in August, the next five will come in September. Once again, Robinson made it clear those 10 new trucks will help, but they are not enough.

“We want to get to where we have 25 to 30 trucks on the road that don’t have any of these issues,” he said.

Common Counselor Joe Carni stated that the Common Council will look to spend more money to upgrade the aging fleet of trucks, that in most cases are also used for clean-up during the warmer months.

“What do we have to to get you where you need to be?” Carni asked Robinson. “I would rather spend money on your department doing this than any other project that either the adiminstration or a councilor has. This is what we get phone calls about. This is what people expect their tax dollars to go to. “

The DPW committee says it will actively look at more solutions to solve the problem of the aging fleet.

“Where the plowing is at right now it is not acceptable,” Carni added. “We got to do better and I am comfortable saying we are going to spend money here rather than other places.”

You can watch the full meeting here:

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