That fact has not gone unnoticed by city council.
“We have to acknowledge that the roads are terrible,” Coun. Murry Krause said at Monday’s council meeting. “We can’t sugarcoat it.”
Having said that, Krause said rather than looking to attach blame for the poor roads, council and the city should look at what can be learned from the weather conditions over the past couple of weeks and the city’s response to big dumps of snow with the mindset of doing a better job.
The comments were echoed by some members of council, who had asked operations superintendent Bill Gaal for a report on snow clearing. Gaal said that with the exception of one grader, whose operator was off work due to a death in the family, all the city equipment was in operation. With a few days between snowfalls prior to Wednesday’s dump, crews were working on scraping down the ice build up on the roads that have made them very difficult to drive on. That, he said, requires changing blades on the graders and plows, which takes time. In addition, grading down the ice is a slower process than simply plowing snow.
Another problem for the city is that it is having difficulty getting enough contract workers to help.
“We really have to get a grasp on this,” said Coun. Brian Skakun. “If we don’t have the contract graders and we don’t have all our equipment out there and if people are saying they don’t see the trucks as much, I tend to believe them.”
Skakun said it’s also becoming a safety issue with roads so rutted with ice.
Gaal said that when the big snowfalls come, the city works uses all the resources it has to remove the snow.
“We don’t park equipment to save money,” Gaal said. “The snowfall that happened in December cost the city $635,000.”
Gaal will be presenting a comprehensive report to council regarding snow removal at the January 20 council meeting.