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Trustees plow township roads to save money

Green Twp. leaders take turns covering rural areas when snow strikes.

Being a trustee in Green Twp. requires more than just winning an election. It also requires a commercial driver’s license.

The rural township of less than 2,000 people can’t afford a separate road maintenance crew. So part of the trustees’ $9,000 annual salary covers climbing behind the wheel of a snow plow.

For Allen Armstrong, a trustee for the past 14 years, it’s old hat to be driving a big truck. But plowing snow admittedly takes a little more finesse.

“As an outsider looking in, that looks like a pretty cool job getting in the big truck,” he said. “But when you’re actually doing it, trying to remember where the road is with the snow going and everything, that’s a whole different ball game.”

The trick is to drive slowly. It’s not in the township’s budget to pre-treat, so Armstrong said he doesn’t head out until the weather has already hit. But because it’s a small township, they know who goes to work early and needs their road cleared sooner and are able to accommodate them, Armstrong said.

“We’re able to provide that more personal service. We know everybody,” he said.

The three trustees work on a rotation running their two snow plows, and stretch their money by adding sand to their salt supplies. They’ve used 12 tons so far on their 70 lane miles, Armstrong said.

During constant snows like the storm that went through after Christmas, it’s difficult to keep the roads clear with just two plows. Armstrong said it can take four hours just to make one pass on the roads.

“Sometimes by the time you get down to the end of the road and come back, it doesn’t look like you’ve done anything,” he said. “But that comes with the territory.”

It might not be every elected official’s dream to clear roadways, but Armstrong said it makes him feel good to know his service has an added value for his constituents.

“I just think if everybody does a bit, nobody has to do a lot,” he said.

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