November 12, 2009

Mills aims to recruit volunteers to help elderly, infirm shovel snow

The mandate that property owners clear sidewalks after a snowstorm has always been a problem for elderly and infirm residents who don’t have deep pockets to pay for help.

Now one city councilor, newcomer David Mills, is hoping to come to their aid.

Mills said that after from residents who have a hardship complying with the law, he contacted with Boy Scouts and both city high schools to find out if they’d be interested in helping provide volunteers to shovel snow for those who can’t do it themselves.

Mills said the youngsters are willing to try.

High school students have community service hours to rack up anyway, officials said, and the Boy Scouts are often ready to chip in for public service.

Mayor Art Ward hailed the effort.

“It’s innovative. He’s taken the initiative,” Ward said.

Ward, a second-term Democrat, said he’ll do what he can to help implement the freshman Republican’s plan.

He said that making it work is going to be trick.

But, Ward said, there is no doubt that volunteers “could address some of the needs” among seniors and others who have long complained about the hardship of making sure their sidewalks are clear.

Mill said that any seniors or homebound residents who cannot do their sidewalks should contact Darlene Coffey at the Beals Senior-Community Center, who is compiling a list of those interested in getting help.

“I thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Coffey, who already has a list started.

She said she’s worried she may wind up with more people seeking help than Mills can find volunteers for.

Anyone interested in receiving assistance with shoveling should call Coffey at (860) 584-7895.

Mills took office this week after winning one of the two 3rd District council seats on Election Day.

Shoveling rules

If a storm ends between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., property owners have nine hours to clear sidewalks. They have 12 hours from the end of other storms.

Failure to comply can lead to a $75 fine.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

45 comments:

Tim Gamache said...

That's the way to "hit the ground running!"

Anonymous said...

DAVE, Talk to the ccd centers they have to do community Service.

Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks for addressing one of the citys mnay unfunded mandates!

Anonymous said...

great idea i hope the kids help the elderly and feel good doing it.

useless said...

"unfunded mandates?" - it's called getting off your lazy butt.

Anonymous said...

You better check the legal side of all this 1) If someone falls because the 14 or 15 year old kid didin`t do a good job do they go after the homeowner. or the city because the city had someone do the sidewalk. just a question. Dave great idea but needs to be looked at.

Anonymous said...

The city mandates that you shovel your sidewalk and doesn't provide the werewithall
Sure meets the definition of unfunded mandate, like the others that Ward is complaining about.

Anonymous said...

Dave get tim to help you that will keep him busy. Pluss less time insulting people under anonymous.HE THINKS HES THE ONLY VET OUT THEIR BECAUSE HES RETIRED.

Anonymous said...

6:07's comment is right on the mark. this initiative, though well intended, was poorly thought out.

Anonymous said...

Don't go out of your way to help your neighbor...you might get sued.

This is the result of the take-over of government by trial lawyers (whose pawns are Democrats in Congress and our state legislature...oh and Odin).

Odin said...

There are several reasons why the council never implemented that particular homeowner's suggestion when he first raised it a year ago. Mills will learn to talk with his new colleagues before publicly jumping to a conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Dave, put your mind in gear BEFORE you open your mouth.
A good example of a rookie mistake.
A good example of how people think they can run the city, but not have a clue as to teh environment they are working in.

Dave, so far, I am dissapointed.

Anonymous said...

Look at Park st.from West End Pizza to O'Connell School.A lot of sidewalks not shoveled and it is not safe for the kids who walk to school.

Anonymous said...

12:22

You can help your neighbor, that is not the problem.
The problem lies with the city being involved, providing direction and oversight.

Stay away from it.

Anonymous said...

So if these volunteers get hurt doing this work whose responsible the city for asking them to help or the infirmed, unable to do it themselves citizens they are helping.
Idea, I seem to see the little cat snow plow for the board of ed plowing quite a few sidewalks for people , if it can do for some should do for all, why the special areas , just cause they are closer to the school. I get it while most of Bristol struggles sometimes to shovel thier walks those closest get free service, no wonder the board of ed cant get its budget undercontrol

Anonymous said...

We know there is a problem: the city organizing this kond of help is not the solution.

Anonymous said...

The city has rules The Board of ed should take care of all side walks with in two miles of any school!And if not why isn`t it been done Park st etc. If the board of ed can`t do the job maybe other depts in the city can help. On snow days all town workers should be out clean the walk ways they have the equipment,bomadeers etc!

Anonymous said...

If the city does the sidewalks, the taxpayer pays.

We are in the hole already, why go deeper?

Anonymous said...

Odin is absolutely right. Also, the legal implications are there for everyone to see. Who is responsible if one of the volunteers is hurt? Is it the homeowner or the city? Also, how many seniors are we talking about? There are 65,000 people in this city. How many are seniors? Are you going to do it for some and not for all? What is the age cutoff? What about those with medical conditions that can't clean their sidewalks? Will they want free help, too? What happens if a person volunteering gets into an accident on the way to his/her shoveling destination? Who is liable for that? This opens up a HUGE can of worms and we should NOT go there!!!

If the Boy Scouts or a civic or church organization would like to organize this on their own, then great. But let's not forget that there are many storms and once you do it, the people receiving the service will expect it EVERY TIME!!! How about ice storms? Will they want their sidewalks chopped free of ice?

This is a logistical nightmare and Mr. Mills did not take the time to think it through. He wants to look like a good guy but he doesn't have a clue. Are you going to have citizens sign papers saying they are liable for anything that happens on their properties? Again, big mistake, mark my words!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mills talks, but is not willing to listen.

I am dissapointed.

Anonymous said...

mills IS TRYING TO IMPRESS SOMEONE WITH HIS LACK OF UNDERSTANDING.

Anonymous said...

no one is going to want to be responsible to shovel the seniors' walks every single time it snows. I don't see how it is physically possible. As soon as you say it's free, they will be climbing out of the woodwork. people are sued even after their walks are cleaned because some people just seem to slip and fall regardless and of course there are those people who will do it to get a buck in hard times.

Anonymous said...

ITS HIS WIFE HES TRYING TO IMPRESS.DONT BE FOOLED HES PLANNING TO TAKE CHARGE VERY SOON.

Anonymous said...

And all along he kept denying that he was interested in being mayor.

Now we start to see a more realistic picture.

Anonymous said...

Rookie enthusiasm, Rookie mistake.

Anonymous said...

Mills hates Ward, always did because Mills is a big supporter of Zoppo.

Anonymous said...

In the spring, Zoppo will tell Mills to suggest that the city provide help with grass cutting, "to eliminate blight".

Zoppo has Mills, McCaul;ey, Block, and probably Matthews following her direction.

Anonymous said...

I like it, bring back the old way of helping neighbors. It doesn't always have to be government sponsored, people will volunteer when give the opportunity. Listening to you guys we should just be every man for himself and screw everybody else. Good idea Dave!!!!

Anonymous said...

the 7:20 poster is way off the mark. It was a bad idea. look at all the previous posts before it. we are talking about liability here and this is a litigious society, unfortunately. no one has even mentioned the fact about driveways. do you think the seniors are going to just have the sidewalks done? of course not!! they'll want their driveways done and the apron to the road and their stairs. this is a huge project and one that should not be undertaken! where do you draw the line? in the end the city will get sued, because one of the volunteers will have slipped and fallen or a passerby that happened to walk where the volunteer shoveled will slip and fall and sue the city and the homeowner and the volunteer because you have to pick the deep pockets and everyone knows it! the city better up their liability insurance if this program goes through.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Maybe then we can all bring some nice hot soup over after we're done shoveling, join hands and sing Kumbaya...

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible if the volunteer doesn't show in time, or doesn't show at all?
Who "supervises" the volunteers?
How much of a city workers time (Darlene or someone else) will be required?
If Senior Center closes, does Darlene still work?

What if there are not enough volunteers: who decides?

These may sound picky, but they are real issue, along with many others that I have not mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Dave is just suggesting the idea and hoping to facilitate discussion and then maybe a Non-Profit will take up the mantle of organizing the actual effort. Doesn't have to have anything to do with City Hall. What if the United Way were to offer it up as a volunteer opportunity? Dave is just using his postion on the City Council to get the idea out there, if it can be made to work then lets try it and if not so be it.

I take it most of you never went around your neighborhood and helped people shovel their walks and maybe make a little money and maybe not. Kind of was part of being a kid in a neighborhood out of school on a snow day for me. Too bad kids don't do that these days, good way to learn the value of hard work and negotiating techniques at the same time.

Anonymous said...

the idea was hashed out two years ago. it was looked into by Craig Minor because the complaint came from his district, and my understanding is the same person complained again to Mills, but Mills didn't bother checking with anyone else first to see if this was an old or new issue. I know this comes from inexperience but that's exactly why he should check about an item before he decides to dive head first into it. my understanding is that nonprofits wouldn't touch it because of the liability and it's really a logistical nightmaare for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

8:13

I think Dave is just promoting his mayoral run.

He wants to one up Kenny C.

Anonymous said...

9:05

One doesn't have to check with anyone when they know everything.

Instant omniscience when one is sworn in.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Mills just got elected and people are talking about a run for mayor? Please!!! I find it interesting that the Press has done nothing but show pictures of him in the paper and seems to hang on every word he says. Please tell me why? Usually a first-term councilman's statements are rarely reported. Let's face it. The Press hasn't quoted Matthews or Fuller and if they have, it's been lost somewhere in the pages. Mills has been featured twice now since election and this is a guy who knows nothing about what goes on in the city. so much for fair and unbiased reporting.

Steve Collins said...

8:27 -- 7:37 -- Mills offered some ideas at the last City Council meeting. I wrote them up the next day. Nothing more complicated than that. Kate Matthews and Kevin Fuller were pretty quiet. If they'd pushed for something, you can rest assured, I would have reported that, too.
Would you really prefer that I not tell you what initiatives councilors propose?

Pat said...

Great Idea!

Anonymous said...

Is Mills a democrat Mole?

Concerned Conservative said...

Another bad idea.

I'll admit, if he were a Democrat I'd really be ripping him.

It's the liability stupid.

1) Someone can sue for slipping on the ice

2) Someone can sue for hurting themselves shoveling.

Get sonny-boy, grand-sonny, grand-daughter or a trusted friend down the street to do it. These types of tasks are not the role of government. (duh!)

Anonymous said...

Steve, yes, he offered up an idea, but let's not jump to the presses every time he opens his mouth. In years past other new councilpersons have made suggestions and they have not been covered to the extent that this fellow has. Just my observation but I know I'm not the only one thinking it.
He obviously didn't look into this shoveling issue very well before he spoke. It seems to me that he is a newbee who needs to learn a thing or two about being on the city council and shouldn't speak until he gets ALL the facts straight instead of trying to seem like he knows it all right off the bat.

Anonymous said...

Bet Ward doesn't go out of town when Mills is acting mayor.

Anonymous said...

What does Cockayne have to say on this topic?

Anonymous said...

who cares?

Anonymous said...

6:51

His Mother does, so be careful!