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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

County police weren't the only ones to help keep Erie County moving
during Tuesday's big snow storm. The county highway department and
the highway departments of five towns chipped in, too. (CONTRIBUTED
Not only did local police assist in Erie County during Tuesday's snow storm, Niagara County government and five town highway departments helped our neighbors to the south dig out.

“This county government, and our partners in the towns of Cambria, Lewiston, Lockport, Pendleton and Royalton, are keenly aware of the regional impact of a storm like this,” said Newfane Legislator John Syracuse. “This is a time to pull together and help our neighbors.”

The five towns provided five front-end loaders and operators that were dispatched to Erie County, while Niagara County provided flatbed trucks that transported the heavy equipment to the affected areas Tuesday afternoon to assist Erie County.

Syracuse praised the highway superintendents of the five towns that joined Niagara County in responding, noting that he has worked closely with town highway departments since becoming chairman of the Public Works Committee to study ways the communities can share services.

“Every community has a responsibility to its taxpayers, first off, to control costs, but emergencies like the Southtowns snow storm remind us that we need to have contingencies to deal with the rapid onset of problem weather,” Syracuse said. “Our response here is part of that commitment, and it is a shared commitment among Western New York’s communities.”

Syracuse noted that he anticipates the county and towns will be reimbursed for the labor, equipment time, and supplies used in responding.

Syracuse also offered words of encouragement to county workers involved in the cleanup effort.

“We are fortunate to have a lot of really great folks working for us on our road crews, and they stepped up today,” Syracuse said. “We’re proud of them. We’re also grateful to our DPW leadership and the leadership of our county’s unions, who have worked with us as partners all day long and shared our commitment to helping our neighbors.”

Gov.Andrew Cuomo today declared a state of emergency for counties severely affected by the storm, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Franklin, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Wyoming, and contiguous counties.

He also deployed the New York National Guard, which mobilized 150 soldiers and airmen, seven Bobcats, 10 dump trucks, and five Humvees. Soldiers came from the 152nd Engineer company in Buffalo and the 827th Engineer Company in Horseheads. Airmen from the 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station also responded.

While Erie County has hundreds of schools, businesses and community organizations closed for the day, there have been none announced in Niagara County as of 6:44 a.m. Locally, up to six inches of heavy snow is expected to fall today.

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