The Gardiner Gazette has previously reported on Ulster County’s proposal to pay towns to perform winter main-tenance of County-owned roads within their jurisdictions, and on the fact that the Town of Gardiner had signed a one-year shared services agreement with the County. In a test of the concept, Gardiner’s Highway Department was to perform winter snow removal and sanding on McKinstry Road and Sand Hill Road, a total of five miles.
Well, a miracle has indeed ocurred on McKinstry, and it’s called the Gardiner Highway Department. For all the years we’ve lived here, McKinstry Road has been “the land the snow-plows forgot.” The plows did get here, of course, but it was usually well after the white stuff had already been coming down for a long time, and they came back infrequently as storms wore on.
When the first big storm last winter started, my husband and I decided we had time to run an errand in Highland before the roads got difficult. It was a bad judement call; by the time we left Highland conditions were poor, and deteriorating quickly. We arrived in Gardiner expecting the usual: 44/55 would be reasonable; Albany Post Road would be bad; McKinstry Road would be ridiculous. We were correct on the first two counts, but, unbelievably, McKinstry was perfectly plowed, and it stayed perfectly plowed throughout every snowfall that followed, in a winter of many snowfalls.
Our thanks to the Gardiner Town Board for signing the shared services agreement, and to the Gardiner Highway Department for taking on their new task with a vengeance. We hope the experiment worked well for both Town and County, and that the Town of Gardiner will sign a 400-year shared services agreement with the county before the start of next winter.