Plainfield, townships to share equipment during snowstorms

Brock A. Stein | 6/16/2015, 10:29 a.m.
The intergovernmental agreement between the village and Plainfield and Wheatland townships will allow all three governments to share machinery and ...
An intergovernmental agreement between the village of Plainfield and Plainfield and Wheatland townships will allow all three governments to share snow removal equipment and resources.

Plainfield will share equipment and resources with Plainfield and Wheatland townships under an intergovernmental deal that will help the village avoid a repeat of January's snow removal problems, officials said.

The agreement approved Monday between the Plainfield Village Board and the two township highway departments gives all three governments broader access to machinery and services that can be shared, especially in the event of an emergency, said Allen Persons, Plainfield director of public works.

It will also make the village less reliant on contractors for snow removal, which was cited as one of the problems during the heavy January snowstorm, Persons said.

“It’s a benefit to the both the townships and the village at no added cost to the taxpayer,” he said.

The village was widely criticized by residents when 14 inches of wet, heavy snow fell within a 24-hour period Jan. 31 yet some streets remained snow-covered as late as Feb. 2. Roads in the village’s cul-de-sacs were especially hard hit and required heavy equipment to clear them.

Compounding the problems was an equipment breakdown for one of the village's snow removal contractors, which wasn’t reported until late into the storm and further hindered the street-clearing efforts.

With the new agreement, Persons said the three governments will share equipment such as end loaders and bucket trucks, which are not currently part of respective equipment rosters.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two townships would be responsible for servicing their roadways first during a snowstorm before assisting the village with its streets, Persons said.

Village to double ash tree removal

In other business, the village approved a contract with Arbortek Services for tree removal at a cost of up to $100,000.

Village Administrator Brian Murphy said crews will remove 1,800 ash trees that are dead or infested with emerald ash borers. That is nearly double the number of trees the village has removed in the last three years, he said.

The village started removing infected ash trees in 2011 when 112 trees were cut down. The pace has increased each year as more trees succumb to the insect, with 387 removed in 2012 and more than 2,000 in 2013 and 2014.

Removal costs are based on tree trunk diameter and range from $19.95 per inch for trees up to 10 inches in circumference to $31.95 per inch for trees 31 inches or greater, Murphy said. Costs include stump grinding.

“We will take out more than half of the remaining trees,” said Murphy, noting that the trees targeted for removal have been already been identified.

Removal will start in the north section of the village, where the ash borer is more established, and move south, he said.

The aggressive timeline is based on the brittleness of the dead trees and the potential hazard presented to the public if a large tree falls over.

Murphy said smaller trees are being removed by village crews, but “some of them are beyond our capabilities.”

After the trees have been removed, the village will replace about 600 in November and will plant more in spring and fall 2016.

Contact Brock A. Stein at Brocknewstips@gmail.com or on Twitter at @BrockAStein.