I would like to formally announce that I am seeking re-election for another term as the Town of Lewiston Highway Superintendent. Being the largest department in our town government, it is very much like a two and a half million dollar per year business. It needs to be guided by someone who has the ability to supervise a large staff and oversee a multi-million dollar annual budget. I have over 25 years of that type of management experience and it has been invaluable in making the sound decisions this position requires.
The most important role of the highway department is to ensure public safety and my primary focus has always been on that responsibility. Over the last several years, several steps have been taken by our departments that have made our roads safer. Traffic signs have been upgraded for better visibility at night, speed limits have been lowered when needed, and driving lanes and roads shoulders have been widened.
Most importantly, during the winter months the roads in Lewiston are always kept in excellent condition. Even our walking paths and sidewalks are kept clear for pedestrian use. Our roads here in Lewiston are among the very safest in New York State, and I am pleased to say that during my time in office there has not been a single auto-injury accident that has been attributed to poor winter road conditions.
The Highway Department provides the majority of the services Lewiston residents enjoy. Some communities have restrictive policies for brush and leaf pickup. Their brush is only picked up once a month and leaves only picked up for a total of six weeks. I don’t want piles of brush lining my street for weeks at a time and I don’t think anyone else does either. So my policies will not change.
We will start collecting leaves from the time they begin to fall and will only stop when the season is over. Any branches and other brush will be picked up whenever it is set out to the road by a resident. I think that makes a lot more sense than having to look at a calendar or wait weeks to get the services you need.
In response to a large number of requests, in January I started a new electronics recycling program. Residents of the Town and Village now have a free and convenient way to dispose of their outdated televisions, computers, and other unwanted electronic items. So far almost a thousand residents have taken advantage of this much needed service and over thirty tons of their e-waste has been properly recycled instead of going to a landfill.
Upon taking office, I began to look for ways to cut costs and save money. I eliminated the practice of hiring private paving contractors to do work we could easily do ourselves. Since then all of our paving projects have been done in-house and the savings have been substantial. Additionally, our administrative overhead is now less than half of what it was when I arrived.
Our staff refurbished over one million dollars’ worth of surplus equipment and these large trucks and other heavy machinery were put back into regular service for a small fraction of their replacement cost. By making equipment modifications and using new salt treatments we have cut our annual rock salt usage by over twenty percent. Over two hundred thousand dollars has been saved over the past five years which has also greatly reduced the amount of salt that was entering our local streams and creeks.
It honestly has been a true privilege to serve the residents of the Town of Lewiston. I am extremely grateful for their past support and I humbly ask them to allow me to continue to serve as their Highway Superintendent.