Denver road crews battle multiple water line breaks

By on February 5, 2014

Brutal winter weather makes clearing snow and multiple repairs on water line breaks grueling work for Denver Borough’s Director of Public Works, George Whetsel, and his workers.

Working on a Main Street water line break until nearly 3 a.m. on Jan. 26, the crew was out again the next day working on a water line break in the area of Jefferson Avenue.

“If there’s good news in any of this,” said Whetsel in his report to Denver Council at their Jan. 27 meeting, “it’s that there’s no indication of any sink holes.”

“Right now, if we’re not plowing snow, we’re fixing water line breaks,” Whetsel concluded.

Frigid, low temperatures spurred council to swiftly approve purchase of a new John Deere tractor with an enclosed, hard cab. Right now workers are using the old, 1994 tractor with no cab to battle snow removal in the cold.

“We’ve had the new tractor in the budget for several years,” said Mike Hession, Denver Borough manager, “and we’ve not had the snow events we’ve had this year.”

The $16,477.39 price tag for the tractor with hard cab includes a snow plow and a 54-inch mower deck.

“We’ll keep the old tractor, which isn’t worth much on a trade-in, and use it to mow rough terrain where the equipment can take a beating,” said Hession. “We’ll use it till it dies.”

Denver Fire Company Chief, Shannon Hilton, reported that the volunteer fire company, in 2013 responded to 214 total calls, which Hilton said “is about average.” There were 16 extracations at vehicle accidents.

“Fireman put in 1,659.1 man hours, 1,687 training hours, and had an average response time of 3.1 minutes from dispatch to arrival on the scene,” said Hilton.

“The borough provided the fire company with the names of landlords who live out of the area,” said Vice president Mike Gensemer, who presided in the absence of President Blake Daub. “Notices sent to 125 landlords by the fire company yielded a 16 percent response rate and donations of $1,280. We would have liked a better response rate. However, that’s $1,280 more than we had previously, and we thank those landlords who responded.”

Police Chief George Beever explained the police are modifying their 10-our schedule to cover for the two retired sergeants.

“We plan to run some 12-hour shifts to see how these work,” said Beever. “There is no decision to make any permanent shift changes now.”

In other business:

• Council approved Denver’s 2014 participation in the Lancaster County Drug Task Force.

• Council agreed to explore creating policy permitting council members, under specific circumstances, to participate in meetings by means of telecommunications.

• Denver’s Cub Scout Troop 132 was welcomed. The Scouts planned a flag raising ceremony. A stubborn knot in the flagpole rope coupled with frigid temperatures made this ceremony not possible. It will be rescheduled.

• Council amended the zoning ordinance to permit specified commercial uses of buildings in the Industrial District.

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