The Town of Gardiner has had the same Superintendent of Highways since 2002, and its residents must be reasonably satisfied with the work that Charlie Haynes has been doing, since no one has stepped forward to run against him this election cycle. He has garnered the endorsements of both the Democratic and Republican committees in Gardiner, and is rolling up his sleeves to embark on his tenth year of managing what he considers a crack team of road warriors. “Everything that we do, I’m proud of,” says Haynes. “The crew that I have now is just unbelievable. Things have never run this smoothly before. We put our all into it.”
Haynes credits his crew’s hard work and a policy of consistent road maintenance and regular improvement for the fact that Gardiner’s road network “didn’t have as much destruction as some other towns from Irene and Lee.” In the years prior to the storms, “we took things that hadn’t been fixed for 30 years and fixed them correctly…The only road still closed is Sparkling Ridge Road. We had to replace a huge pipe there, and we’re waiting for it to settle down so we can pave over it.”
On Haynes’ docket for reclamation and resurfacing during the next year are the lower section of Forest Glen Road, the section of Dusinberre Road between Steve’s Lane and Phillies Bridge Road and possibly Jenkinstown Road. He’s keeping a wary eye on possible budget cuts in 2012 due to the two-percent tax cap, which might necessitate shopping around for less expensive tools and materials. “My budget has been basically flat, the same as last year,” he notes.
Despite the financial limitations, Gardiner was able to absorb the added costs of maintaining two county roads this past year – Sand Hill and McKinstry – as required by the county’s municipal sharing agreement. “Those two roads used to be the last to get plowed,” says Haynes. “People living there have thanked and thanked and thanked us…Our snow removal has always been excellent.”
Haynes’s prediction for the term immediately ahead, given no truly catastrophic weather events, is “business as usual…Everything is pretty much up to par.” ++