We have seen an update report prepared by York Council officials (reproduced below) which casts some light on the problems being experienced this year with declining public service standards. Essentially they boil down to labour shortages and some poor budget prioritisation The latter is the main reason for poor highway repair standards. .
This is the kind of news that should be shared with residents on a regular basis but sadly most elected representatives don’t pass the information on.
After a challenging start to the season it is a slowly improving picture in relation to grass cutting. We have trained additional staff on the ride-on machines and the teams are catching up with their scheduled cuts. However, as a result of the challenges we experienced in relation to staffing and the growing season we have had, some grass has got quite long before being cut. Therefore, when the teams are cutting the verges, it is sometimes difficult for the machines to cut through the grass and a rather ‘clumpy’ finish can happen. If there are issues with the quality of the cuts please let me know and I will look into them. The areas we are focussing on this week are South/West team – Westfield ward and then Holgate and North/East team – Heworth and Tang Hall.
Rural grass cutting
This programme of work has just started. In rural areas we cut a 1 metre wide strip of grass along the kerbside on grass verges of ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, footpaths and cycle ways. On other rural roads, grass cutting is restricted to priority locations, such as road junctions / bends and corners where visibility is key. Work will continue this month and sees our contractor cut a 1 metre stretch on the roadside to ensure grass does not grow too high and to ensure sight lines are maintained in key areas. The work is being undertaken by the contractor that the Council has used for the last few years. The second cut will take place in September / October (exact timings are subject to weather conditions).
The summer bedding has been delivered and the teams are planting flower beds and floral displays over the coming week.
The second spray of the year on the highway network is due to start on 28th June. The first spray took place in April and was completed successfully.
It would be easy to criticise the report. No mention is made, for example, of the weeds which are obstructing paths, street furniture and road nameplates.
Some snickets and footpaths were missed from the first weed spraying application. It is a matter of opinion whether the chemicals being used this year are effective.
Councillors should say when they hope to see street level public services return to an acceptable level.