PATERSON, N.J- Many Paterson residents are wondering why roads were not plowed efficiently by the city after Tuesday’s blizzard.
Winter Storm Stella covered the Northeast, with Paterson receiving approximately a foot of snow, shutting down Paterson’s government for two days while Paterson schools were closed for three.
Paterson Board of Education President Christopher Irving said, “Well the schools have been prepared to open since Wednesday. Unfortunately, the city did not do its part to ensure that our children and buses can get around the city.”
Multiple of Paterson’s Board of Education commissioners were upset that schools were closed on Thursday due to the unsafe roads.
“It is unfortunate that the school district had to close due to the condition of our city’s streets. Although the extended closure might have created a burden to many of our parents and children. I have to agree with the executive decision made by the Superintendent of Schools to close the district,” said Paterson Board of Education Commissioner Flavio Rivera. He also added, “Although we have a responsibility to educate our children, we have also have a responsibility for the safety and the wellbeing of our children and staff.”
Patersonians were also upset with the closure of the schools due to the roads.
“Our schools were closed for three days because of the roads but we had the money to pay workers overtime for Torres’s house,” said one resident who came to council meeting on Thursday night.
Paterson’s City Councilmembers had some comments regarding the snow removal by the city.
Council President William C. McKoy stated during a council meeting, “I like what Prospect Park did with their snow removal with giving space for parking.” McKoy also commented, “We need to provide the proper tools to perform.” He later concluded that the city needs to do a proper analysis.
First Ward Councilman Mike Jackson commented, “We can improve…we need new equipment for our workers to work with. He later added, “we got hit pretty hard [from the blizzard], but thankfully I only received one or two complaints about the roads.”
There are talks of the city receiving new snow equipment. Councilwoman Martiza Davila said that she likes what Prospect Park had done with their snow removal with their SnoGo. She said that she started the talks with Mayor Mohamed Khairullah about possible shared service with Prospect Park.
Sixth Ward Councilman Andre Sayegh said, “I believe that their should be more collaboration between the county and Paterson…the county doesn’t receive a lot of complaints [about their snow removal] so they should be at the table with us.” Sayegh also noted that the city needs a grant writer so that they can apply for grants for new snow removal equipment instead of borrowing money.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton said that she believes the DPW did a “decent job for the equipment that they have.” However, she believes that there could be improvement. “The City of Paterson has 200-210 miles of roads, how can you pick up snow with old equipment with people who would normally sweep? It’s difficult,” said Cotton. She went on to commended the county for their snow removal, and hopes that in the future the city and the county can have a shared service agreement for snow removal.