Thursday, April 12, 2012

A New Broom Sweeps Half As Clean?

Ken O’Brien

In the last few weeks I’ve received a number of calls (obviously not as many as Councilor Regis got to
change her vote on the Board of Health Charter amendment on October 24, 2011).

As many will recall, there was a substantial controversy when the Southbridge Town Council voted to buy a new street sweeper.

As we are well aware it was a very mild winter.

As a consequence, the usual amount of sand put down during the season was drastically reduced.

As of now we have two street sweepers that are operational. 

One could reasonably expect that, given a substantial reduction in sand left over from the winter and two street sweepers, the Spring cleanup would be accomplished in short order and at a substantial reduction in cost from prior years.

So much for reasonable expectations.

The calls that I have gotten have been from residents who wondered why, as their streets were being swept, they witnessed two street sweepers, one behind the other, going up and down their street. It would seem that, with less to clean, one sweeper could handle one street while the second handled another. Certainly this was adequate when we had only one sweeper.

Perhaps there was a need to make up overtime lost to public employees who had little in the way of plowing duties as a result of the mild winter.

In a related note, I was interested to hear that the DPW position previously held by Maureen Ciesla had been backfilled. As I recall, the Town Council had discussed eliminating the position once she retired.

Well, all things considered, it really doesn’t matter as long as people will keep electing the same rubber-stamp Town Council to comply with the Town Manager’s whims. All you have to do is pay the freight through tax increases to fulfill those whims.


  1. aka Jester

    Caption: Mass Property Values & Taxes

    [Town-by-Town Assessed Home Values and Billed Property Tax Amounts]

    Curious to know what Southbridge’s billed property tax amounts from 2000' to 2010' were?

    Recapped below are percentage increases exclusive to Southbridge:

    * 2009'-2010' = 6.2 % Change
    * 2005'-2010' = 34.9 % Change
    * 2000'-2010' = 86.0 % Change

    Source Site:

  2. I would move to Southbridge but I think Boston is cheaper.

  3. I know this has nothing to do with this post, but has anyone else clicked on Marketti's link to his "page"? He took down the Stonehedge Press link, and he hasn't had a cartoon in the "paper" for a long time. Also, he took down his Pam Regis video. Is he still working for the paper, or is it just a hissy fit?

  4. As far as the street sweeper goes, dont these drivers get any kind of operating instructions, It seems every time I see a town sweeper passing by its water tank is empty therdore creating nothing but a cloud of dust. I think its time for " Every " town emloyee to have a random p-cup test!

  5. I was reading on The Daily ( this morning about a Zamboni that only costs around $140,000.

    Since DPW hasn't asked for anything for 4 months now, I was thinking that the Town Manager might be kind enough to request that they get one for the town, since, once the streets are cleaned and the winter ice comes, what better way to generate income than to ice up the streets, and have people slide from one lane of traffic to another?

    That way, Chief Charette can justify another 100 or so officers to hand out $250 tickets to the good citizens of the name of "safety" of course.

    We could even hire an "ice cop" to follow people around.

    I think it's the great kind of out of the box thinking that that will help more people to make this town home.

    Southbridge, home of the endless supply of money for everything we don't need!

  6. aka Jester

    With gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon along with the added fleet wear-and-tear costs will, in all likelihood, push the current “Fine Quota Bar" even higher.

    What a vicious circle!


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