Brookhaven officials have increased the rates paid to outside plow vendors, after the highly criticized cleanup from the recent blizzard.
The board voted 5-0 with two abstentions Tuesday in favor of Supervisor Edward P. Romaine's resolution to increase payments to plow owners and make it easier for the town to quickly hire contractors -- which town officials cited as a problem during the Feb. 8-9 blizzard, when 30 inches of snow fell on some communities and many roads went unplowed for days.
Councilmembers Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld and Connie Kepert abstained from voting, saying they had questions about how the new rates were set and if the town could work with other municipalities in setting a uniform rate.
Councilwoman Kathy Walsh, who is running for highway supervisor, asked to table the resolution until the next board meeting on March 12 -- a week after the highway supervisor election. She said she also had questions about how the increased rates were calculated.
One example of the new rates: The town will pay $250 an hour for rental of a payloader over 18,001 pounds. Previously, rates for that kind of payloader ranged from $72.68 to $232.56 an hour, depending on the size.
Town attorney Annette Eaderesto said the new rates were set against county, state and nearby town rates. She told the town board that contractors had complained "our rates hadn't changed in many, many years."
"We'll pay somewhat less than the county, but we'll be competitive with the surrounding towns," Romaine said.