At Tuesday night's meeting Mayor Beth Davis thanked Lincoln Streets
Department Superintendent Tracy Jackson, all his crew, police and
fire department personnel, "and everyone who helped during this very
trying, trying time." She said, "I know you didn't get to things as
quickly or as fast as we wanted."
She then stressed that the last similar snow amount was back
several administrations ago, about 1978. At that time the streets
department had 14 on staff. This time we had eight working and one
man out sick, she said.
The department not only had fewer men, but also had equipment
failures to work around. Jackson said they are still down one plow
and one dump truck.
The men worked hard all week. During the critical times they'd
work 18 hours, then take a couple hours' nap and were back out
there, the mayor said.
Jackson said they put in 180 hours of overtime last week. Two
guys even canceled their vacations to work.
There has been some complaint about road widths. But Jackson said
that for the amount of snow, they couldn't push any closer without
breaking mailboxes. They didn't widen some of the streets because it
would bury cars back in, he said. "I think the guys did an
outstanding job," he said.
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"For all you that had patience, we really thank you very much,"
the mayor said. "Others, we're very sorry we couldn't get to you; we
got to you as quickly as possible. People that called in with
cardiac or health problems, we tried to react fast as we could to
help with that."
The city police, fire and streets departments all remain
short-staffed since cutbacks in 2002 when the country experienced
the national recession that followed 9/11 and the loss a major
employer, Lincoln Developmental Center. These led to a drop in tax
revenues and drastic cuts in interest rates on the city's
While local and national economics have improved and revenues
have increased, there have also been higher costs, such as health
and liability insurances, rocketing fuel prices, and now a jump in
The move to reinstate the shortages comes up several times a year
at council meetings. Always, the consensus has been to treat all
departments equally when the manpower is restored.
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