AUBURN — Greg Rose doesn’t care about storm totals, parking bans or street priorities — he just wants his street plowed.

“I pay my taxes,” the Monroe Street resident said. “I don’t mind paying my share, but I’d like to get a little something for it. The least they can do is plow my snow.”

Rose, a paramedic who works in Topsham, said he drove out of his street at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, a day after Monday’s wet storm. He returned home before 3 p.m.

“When I got home, there hadn’t been a plow down my street from the moment I left to the moment I got home, and let me tell you: I was a little bit pissed,” Rose said.

Monroe Street is one of 392 streets that the city classifies as Priority 4, roads in residential areas that typically have low-traffic volumes.

According to city policy, those roads are plowed every six to eight hours during storms.

Rose called the Public Works Department to complain and was told a plow would be sent out right away. It was.

“But if they hadn’t come when I called, I’d be living on Antarctica right now,” he said. “What I want to know is, if I live on a Priority 4 street, does that mean I can make my property taxes Priority 4? That means I’d just pay my taxes whenever I felt like it.”

Rose said he has spent several hours talking with Auburn Police, Public Works supervisors and City Manager Glenn Aho.

Aho said Thursday there was another problem on Monroe Street after Monday’s storm: People left their cars on the road, despite a citywide parking ban, and the plows could not get through.

“We can’t wait for those cars to be towed,” Aho said. “If we were to wait, even a few minutes, you end up delaying everyone else. Before you know it, you’re at 12 hours.”

Aho said he recommended that Rose work with his neighbors, possibly setting up a neighborhood watch to make sure cars are off the street when the plows arrive.

Rose said cars on the street was no excuse.

“We live in Maine; it snows here,” he said. “The city I live in and pay taxes to shouldn’t be unprepared to deal with it … I’m sick of this ‘let’s cut budgets all over the place’ attitude,” he said.

Aho said residential streets are not seeing less plowing than in years past.

“The only hours that we have reduced plowing is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.,” Aho said. “Most storms, we’ve been fully staffed. People assumed we’ve reduced plowing during the day, and we have not.”

He said the priority list, allocating which streets get plowed first and which ones wait, is not new.

“It’s something we’ve done for years, but now we’ve put a name to it,” Aho said.

According to the city’s 2011 Snow and Ice Control Plan, 15 streets are considered Priority 1. Those are heavily traveled, high-traffic roads, including Center Street, Washington Street, Main Street, Minot Avenue and Court Street.

Those roads are treated with ice-melting salt and calcium chloride right before a storm and are plowed every two hours during a heavy snowstorm.

Priority 2 streets, including Academy Street, Stetson Road, Park Avenue and Turner Street, are plowed every three to four hours. The plan lists 50 Priority 2 streets.

The city lists 64 Priority 3 streets, including Granite Street, Western Promenade, Maple Hill Road and Perkins Hill Road. Those roads can expect to be plowed every four to six hours.

Aho blamed problems on city streets on the storms themselves. Storms have come often this winter, and they’ve been especially heavy and cold, he said.

“Even if we had made no reductions in hours, we’d still be having these problems,” he said.

Aho said the city has responded to criticism by pulling one supervisor off the roads during a storm and having that person act as snowplow dispatcher, answering phone calls and directing plows via radio.

“It’s like an incident commander for a fire,” he said. “The dispatcher knows where everybody is and what they’re doing. He’s hooked up, connected and directs where everybody goes.”

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Auburn Snow and Ice Control Plan


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