January 14. 2013 9:21PM

Derry gets low grade on snow removal

Union Leader Correspondent

Town Administrator John Anderson said the town should be better prepared when the next snow storm hits the town. (ADAM SWIFT PHOTO)

DERRY - Town Administrator John Anderson admitted that last year's mild winter might have left the town a little rusty following the snowstorm that hit the region after Christmas.

Anderson said the town received several calls and emails from people concerned about snow removal.

He apologized for the snow removal issues, noting that the town had some new equipment and personnel in place this year, and said the town will do a better job when the snow starts to fall again.

"I think this winter is going to be more like it was two years ago, and we are going to be out more than we were last year," Anderson said.

He said the town has a new sidewalk plow that workers are still getting the hang of and that he has met with public works employees and contractors about issues that came up during the storm.

Town Councilor Brian Chirichiello said he was especially concerned about the state of the town's sidewalks following the storm.

"Living downtown, I see a lot of elderly people and children that need to use our sidewalks," he said. "The last snowstorm we had, the sidewalks weren't cleared until day four. The kids had school off, so it wasn't a problem, but we might not be so lucky next time."

With the sidewalks unplowed, Chirichiello said many people were forced to walk in the narrow streets downtown.

He also said that while the town has a new piece of equipment to clear sidewalks, after the sidewalks were plowed there was still a layer of ice left behind. He suggested the town may need to put sand or salt on the sidewalks following the plowing.

"We are looking at all those things," Anderson said. "It's a function of how the storm happens. Sometimes we get really lucky and we get out and clear the sidewalks, it gets above freezing the next day and everything goes away."

During the recent storm, however, he said the expected changeover to rain never happened and the town got more snow and ice than was expected.

"We were not as prepared as well as we could have been, but we will do a better job," Anderson said. "I know this is a public safety issue for a lot of our people."