GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio- Digging out on Monday morning was a daunting challenge for Northeast Ohioans following eight to 12 inches of snowfall in a 24-hour period.
On East 98th Street in Garfield Heights, residents like Alex Papesh struggled to free their cars from the mounded snow; some were hopelessly stuck. Papesh said it wasn’t the first time plows had failed to show on his dead end street.
“It’s something we’ve kind of dealt with a pretty long time,” he told FOX 8’s Lorrie Taylor.
Feeling fed up and ignored, he fired off an email to Garfield Heights Mayor Vic Collova on Monday afternoon.
It read, in part, “After yesterday’s snow, our street was impassable, stranding many of us and the road was not plowed once. I went on to say, as a taxpaying citizen and a person whose family owns and pays taxes on seven plus properties in Garfield Heights, I am appalled.”
Three hours later Mayor Collova responded with his own email, interpreted by Papesh as being inappropriately rude. He read a passage from the note which said, “Also thank you for reminding me that you are a taxpayer. I would have never known without you telling me.”
Papesh was so incensed by the mayor’s tone, he posted the email on his Facebook page; it made the rounds on social media. Meanwhile, the Garfield Heights resident said he couldn’t help but feel hurt.
“It was the stomach turn. It was like these are the people we elect to work for us and this is how we’re going to be treated when we just sent out an email,” he said.
“The reason I did this was this isn’t our first rodeo with Mr. Papesh,” Mayor Collova told Taylor, “We’ve had some concerns with him before and he always wants to jump to 'I pay taxes; you need to do this.'"
Collova said especially galling was the fact that he’d sent a crew to East 98th Street ten minutes after he’d opened the email.
“He thinks if he gets a little hot tempered that things will happen faster,” said the mayor.
Collova said staying ahead of constant snow fall between Sunday and Monday was nearly impossible; he’s certain other residents had more to complain about than Alex Papesh.
“And you think he would have said, 'You know what, mayor? I don’t like your comments but thank you for being here so quick to clean out the street after I contacted you. I didn’t hear that,'” said Collova.
The mayor said he had no regrets over how he responded to the Papesh email.