Monday, February 11, 2013

Safety and service needs as the blizzard recovery continues

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

This message is to inform you of specific concerns as well as services related to the snow storm.

First, with the current rainfall, there are precautions you may wish to take concerning the added weight to snow on roofs.  If possible, clear any large snowfall and make access to gutters.  If you have any known leakage, particularly to areas of your residence where there is electricity – such as between walls, shut off the area circuit breakers and notify the City’s dispatch number at 860-826-3000 to arrange for an inspection for any fire hazard.

Please also make certain that your home’s Carbon Monoxide and Smoke detectors are in working condition.  Be aware that carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that can buildup in your home.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly.  Please test the battery in you smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by pressing and holding down the button located on the cover of the devise.  Smoke detectors should be located on every floor of your home including the basement.

Be sure to visually inspect the outlet of your dryer and furnace vents that may be located near ground level to assure that they are not obstructed by snow.  Remember that snow may fall from the roof and cover the vents during the coming days, please be sure to re-inspect the area frequently.

Secondly, if you have a need that is not a 911 emergency that is storm related, such as transportation to medical care, prescription medication, or food, please call the City’s dispatch unit at 860-826-3000.  Community Services Department Staff are available to provide assistance and support until 5PM today and throughout the storm recovery period.  There are also trained nursing and mental health professionals if you have a serious but not life threatening condition.  As always, in any serious or life threatening condition please use the 911 system.

As Mayor, I want to be certain that you are safe and well during the recovery process of this unprecedented storm.  I also want to assure you that City personnel are available to assist you with any important need that you have.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blizzard disaster recovery update for New Britain

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

Dear New Britain Residents,

The Blizzard of 2013 we just experienced dropped 30+ inches in New Britain in less than one day.

To put this in perspective, that is more snow than fell during the Blizzard of 1978. Even the winter two years ago that produced so much snow did not dump this amount in such a short period of time. And, it’s important to note that cities such as Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport and some surrounding towns are experiencing the same challenges associated with this disaster.

This is a natural disaster situation. Even though city crews have been working to clear snow, round the clock, even before the snow began to fall, please do not have the expectation of things returning to normal within normal snowstorm timeframes.

Such a significant amount of snow over a small period of time has prevented city plows from breaking through the snow and have been getting stuck.  We have had to use payloaders and construction equipment to remove snow before plows can gain access.  We have requested additional assistance from the state and National Guard to expedite the cleanup from this natural disaster.

The city has first focused on priority roadways such as main streets and arteries. City Public Works is working with city crews and private contractors to excavate the snow from streets to enable plows to access them. Plows cannot even get onto most streets until this is done.

While I hope to have most streets open for basic travel access today or tomorrow, conditions are proving even more difficult than expected. Depending on the difficulty of the snow excavation ahead, some streets may not be plowed until Tuesday. And please be aware that streets will not be fully cleared for perhaps a week or more.

Although you may not have seen a plow on your street, city crews have been working around the clock and will continue to do so until the snow is cleared. There is a massive amount of snow to move.

Of course, making sure that the city residents can be reached by medical, fire and police emergency responders is top priority, and the city Public Works crews are coordinating with emergency responders to get emergency response to all sections of the city.
Important information for residents:

  • Call 911 for emergencies only
  • Call 860-826-3000 if you are at risk and need assistance due to the storm
  • Schools will be closed Monday
  • Due to the mass of snow, garbage collection will not occur this week. Garbage collection will resume next week, and, for that week only, you may use your recycling bins for trash.
  • The state has seen an increase in carbon monoxide poisoning incidents.  Please clear any snow from outside vents to prevent build up in your home.
  • For safety when driving, please stop at all all intersections - even those without stop signs or stop lights - and please do not drive over 25 MPH on any road.
  • The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice, as this is necessary for clearing snow and allowing emergency personnel to have access in cases of emergencies.

Thank you very much for your patience and for pulling together as a community during this extraordinary disaster.

Please stay safe.


~Mayor Timothy O’Brien

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Getting the streets plowed after the big storm.

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

The historically large snowfall from the Blizzard of 2013 has made it very difficult for many cities and towns to clear snow from their roads.

In New Britain, city crews have been working around the clock, under difficult conditions, since during the storm, to clear the snow.

As of right now, it looks like city streets will be opened by snowplows sometime tomorrow (Sunday).

With the massive amount of snow, the clearing has been tough and slow-going. To get the city up and running, the city has been clearing the major roads first and working to the neighborhood streets.

The job is so large because of the historic snowfall that the city workers actually have to use payloaders in addition to plows to clear the large amount of snow.

And because there is so much snow to be removed, it is going to take time to completely clear the streets. It is a tough job, given how severe this storm was, and other cities and towns are experiencing similar challenges.

But city workers and I are working very hard to return things to normal.

I sincerely appreciate your understanding.

Working to dig out from the historic blizzard.

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

The Blizzard of 2013 has produced a historic snowfall. Throughout our region, it has left streets and highways difficult, if not impossible, to drive.

City crews have been working very hard around the clock to clear the snow from our streets - a job that will take some time to finish.

Please, for your safety, I would urge you to stay home and off the roads.

I would also urge you to be careful in removing snow from your driveway and sidewalk. Please do not overdo it when shoveling. And please be very careful when operating snow-blowers.

Also keep in mind that the city parking ban will remain in effect throughout Saturday and maybe into Sunday.

By the way, something that you can do that can protect your home is to shovel snow from fire hydrants near your house.

City workers and I are continuing our round-the-clock work to ensure your safety and get our city dug out and through this historic storm event.

Thank you very much for your patience and for pulling together as a community.

Be safe and take care.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

News from the City on the expected blizzard.

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

A major winter storm is approaching Connecticut. This is a large storm that will impact New Britain with potential blizzard conditions for a period of 24 hours from mid-day tomorrow (Friday) to mid-day Saturday. New Britain is expecting heavy snow with winds of 20-30 MPH. One to 2 feet of snow is expected. Power outages are likely.

Here is some important information:

  • Due to this storm, schools will be closed tomorrow (Friday)
  • There will be a parking ban in effect beginning tomorrow at tomorrow (Friday) 6am. Towing of cars will occur to allow plows and emergency vehicle access to all streets.  

 Free parking will be available at the following locations during the parking ban:

  • Osgood Park
  • Stanley Golf Course
  • Quonset hut parking lot at 655 Slater Rd.
  • City parking lot on Main Street between NBPD and the CCSU ITBD building.
  • City parking lot at Wildwood St. & Linden St. (next to Police substation)
  • Washington Park (lot opposite Gold Street)
  • Martha Hart Park
  • City parking garage - (Bank St./Chestnut St.)
  • City parking garage - (Columbus Blvd. at the corner of Washington St.)

Here are safety and other tips you should keep in mind:

  • Have food, water, flashlights and a battery operated radio available.
  • Charge all cell phones.
  • Check on elderly and at risk neighbors and relatives.
  • Stay informed, listen to storm information.
  • Do not use candles for lighting, use flashlights.
  • Do not use propane or charcoal grills indoors for any reason.
  • Make sure generators are kept outside away from the house.
  • To report fallen trees and wires, Call 860-826-3000,
  • To report fire, police and medical emergencies, call 9-1-1.

Thank you very much for your cooperation and please be safe !

Friday, February 01, 2013

Free income tax preparation available for many city residents at HRA.

Message from Mayor Tim O'Brien:

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that the Human Resources Agency offers free tax return preparation services for city residents with incomes under $50,000 a year. Please feel free to let anyone you thing could use this help about this service. Here are the details:

Free Income Tax Preparation Available in the City

Free income tax preparation for low to moderate-income individuals and married couples, making at or under $50,000 a year, will be offered at various locations in New Britain from Monday to Saturday, through April 15th. Tax returns are completed by appointment only and taxpayers must bring all necessary documentation to their appointment. Please call the Human Resources Agency at 860-612-3983, Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. The tax preparation service is a part of the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). The program is coordinated through the New Britain Asset Building Coalition; operated by the Human Resources Agency of New Britain (HRA), and funded in part by the IRS and United Way of New Britain and Berlin.

Free Tax Preparation Site Listings:

HRA North Oak Community Center                       Tues, Wed, Thurs. 3:00pm-8:00pm
35 Oak Street                                                         Saturdays 10:00am-3:00pm

HRA Energy Assistance                                          Thursdays 5:00pm-8:00pm
336 Arch Street                                                       Saturdays 10:00am-3:00pm

HRA Youth Services Center                                    Mondays 1:00pm-4:00pm
58 Scarlett Drive           

HRA Ben Franklin Early Childhood Center              Tuesdays 2:00pm-6:00pm
180 Clinton Street

Community Central (in partnership with CCSU)     Tuesdays 9:00am-1:00pm
117 West Main Street