(Photo credit: Jeff Miller)
Subdivisions within the city limits may see a difference in snow removal this year; discussions to adjust the city’s level of service are in the works.
During last night’s city council work session, City Public Works Director Sawley Wilde informed the council that, last year, the city experienced 22 snow events, with several carrying on for multiple days at a time.
Currently, the city’s level of service for snow removal prioritizes main roadways and only allows for snow plow drivers to give subdivisions one pass per storm as needed.
Councilman Shay Lundvall said that he’s received numerous calls from residents during past snow events, requesting the city give subdivisions additional passes with the snow plows.
“Is there a way that we can increase the amount, depending on the storm, of passes through the subdivisions to make sure that they are [clear],” Lundvall asked the council.
Councilman Robin Kuntz said that one of the issues that he sees in the subdivisions is the amount of time it takes for snow plows to get there. He said that if it takes a snow plow two or three days until they clear a subdivision, then the snow is packed down so tight that a cutting agent, such as Ice Slicer, is needed to remove it.
“Is there a way for one truck that is in that area to hit a subdivision so it doesn’t get packed down?” Kuntz asked.
The city utilizes two snow removal shifts, who work the streets from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and through the night as needed. Diverting snow ploughs into subdivisions would mean an increase in the amount of time the ploughs are on the streets, which could result in overtime for the city’s two snow removal shifts.
Mayor Louise Carter-King reminded council that the level of service was decreased due to budgetary concerns during the 2015- 2016 season and seemed wary of increasing it. Kuntz, however, seemed optimistic.
“I think we’ve come back enough that we can put some overtime in [the budget],” he said.
Councilman Dan Barks said that he too was in favor of including some overtime in the snow removal budget, though he took a moment to remind those present of where they live and the climate.
“We do have to remember, we live in Wyoming. There is going to be snow on the ground,” said Barks. “It is up to the individuals to have a vehicle that will allow them to move around in winter conditions. That’s a personal responsibility.”
Wilde asked to speak with the crews to hear their ideas on how to get into subdivisions faster.
“Maybe there is a way to incorporate those guys,” Wilde said. “They know their jobs, they’re out there doing it.”
He said that if the city gives the crews a little more leeway to clean up the snow in subdivisions, then that is what they will do.
The council ultimately gave Wilde the go ahead to speak with his crews and return with a strategy on how to address the subdivisions this snow season.