BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Several Buffalo Common Council members shared concerns Tuesday about the city’s snow plan, which was released Monday night, and said that they would have liked to see the plan much sooner.
The City of Buffalo releases a snow plan every year by Nov. 1. Ahead of a Common Council meeting Tuesday, Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt told News 4 that because of last year’s Blizzard of ’22, he thinks the snow plan should have been released farther ahead of that deadline.
“We got the snow plan today but I think the urgency of having the snow plan early because of what happened last year.. it should’ve happened,” Wyatt said. “I guess you want to follow the letter of the law when it comes to you following the charter … But we don’t always have to do that when it comes to the safety and security of the residents of the city of Buffalo.”
Wyatt said he was surprised to see the amount of equipment listed in the snow plan had decreased from last year. The document outlines the city’s plan to borrow equipment from the New York state Department of Transportation, depending on the severity of the weather.
Council members also questioned the city’s map of warming shelters. The snow plan lays out nine warming shelters that will be open during the event of a snowstorm. Council Majority Leader David Rivera, who represents the Niagara district, says he’s concerned some residents won’t be able to access any of the warming shelters that are listed based on their location.
“I noticed they’re in different parts of the district, but they’re not very close to certain neighborhoods,” Rivera said. “We need to make sure that there are places without a certain radius of the neighborhoods. That’s something the emergency manager can discuss.”
In the plan, the city says the shelters are spread out to include one in each district. However, under current district lines, there would not be a warming shelter in the North district.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmembers brought up working with Buffalo Public Schools to utilize school buildings in the event of a snow emergency. The city’s plan does mention cooperation with schools but Rivera says it’s not specific enough about what a school’s function would be.
Wyatt was critical of the plan and told News 4 he is frustrated with the city’s communication so far, though he did say he liked the three-tier approach to classifying storms based on their severity.
Councilmember Chris Scanlon said he’s glad to have the plan released, though some members said they would have preferred to have more time to review the plan before Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.
“I’m glad we now have this plan in our hands and take a look at it. I’ve gone through it, I want to go a little more in depth still … but I do think there are some improvements there at first glance,” Scanlon said. “But I think there’s some room for some coordination and some amendments to be made between us and the administration.”
There will be another meeting at City Hall for public comment about the city’s winter weather plan next Wednesday. The Common Council is encouraging residents with concerns to speak at that meeting.