The City of New Haven announced late Wednesday afternoon that the citywide parking ban will be lifted at 6 a.m. Thursday, but the overnight freeze isn’t making the cleanup any easier.
After this mid-March winter storm, New Haven’s Deputy Director of Emergency Operations Rick Fontana said the city has nearly used up its $750,000 snow removal budget.
“Our snow budget is basically pretty much depleted at this point and we’ve still got some winter weather left,” he said.
Fontana said that is the reality when you factor in overtime pay for public works personnel, plus the need to hire outside contracts to remove snow from 321 miles of roadway.
“There’s never a question of spending the money,” he said, “the Board of Alders would look at that and make some money transfers.”
On Wednesday morning, Yale graduate student Chris Lim needed to dig out his car on Humphrey Street to give his friend a ride.
“I knew that this was going be here,” Lim said, “this always happens when we get walled in like this and maybe there isn’t a better way.”
The mix of snow, sleet and ice is adding to the challenge of clearing the roads in the Elm City.
“We would love 12 inches of powdered snow,” Fontana said. “Now we have crusted mashed potatoes and the trucks are having a hard time moving it and it wreaks havoc on trucks, and breaks trucks,” Fontana said.
Fontana added some budgetary relief could come because both the Governor Dannel Malloy and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp made emergency declarations for this storm.
“What we’ll hope is that we get some reimbursement from the federal government,” Fontana sad, “it’s based on each county, so I think everybody is facing the same thing we are.”
West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien told NBC Connecticut his city is also hoping to get some money reimbursed because of the emergency declaration. He said West Haven is slightly over budget after this week’s storm, but the city would really feel the pinch if the shoreline gets slammed again.
On Orange Street, the tow trucks lined up for another day of parking ban enforcement around noon.
“We’re getting ready to go back out,” said Robert Holton from Tony’s Long Wharf Tow company, “we’re just waiting for the city to come out.”
Their assignment from the Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking was to remove the cars parked in the Lincoln-Bassett school parking lot.
New Haven allowed residents to move their cars into public school lots because of the citywide parking ban that started midnight Monday. A message went out at 7 p.m. Tuesday through the city’s alert system saying those cars needed to be moved by noon Wednesday.
Lilac Street resident Mary Griffin stopped them from taking her car away, but her daughter Tai wasn’t so lucky.
“I was trying to stop the guy when he towed it,” Tai Griffin said. “When I walking out of my door it was going down the street and I’m trying to stop him and he just kept on going.”
A message went out at 7 p.m. Tuesday through the city’s alert system saying those cars needed to be moved by noon Wednesday.
“After the street is cleaned, then let the people come back,” said New Haven Alder Delphine Clyburn. “Where can they put the vehicles? Look at Lilac, look at Butler St., where are they gonna put them?”
Clyburn rushed to the neighborhood after being notified about the tow operation.
“Their finances is not that much that they can just be paying for a tow,” she said.
“This is ridiculous,” Tai Griffin said. “We have nowhere to park, like look at this and we own property, we pay taxes. This is ridiculous.”
Four cars were towed from the Lincoln-Bassett school parking lot, Fontana said.
For anyone who had a car towed in the Elm City, it will cost about $200 to retrieve the car and pay the city’s fine.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut