Snow removal

Snow removal crews are preparing for the upcoming winter and Sidney Public Works Director Jeff Hintz provided insight on what to expect, how to make snow removal easier on everyone, and how things work.

1 Snow removal typically begins when accumulation hits about 4-6 inches, Hintz said. At that time, around seven to eight city employees designated for snow removal all work at the same time to clear specific routes first.

2 Routes are prioritized by snow removal crews. They start with the streets to the hospital, 12th Avenue SW and 14th Avenue SW. Next are school routes, from the high school to Main Street on Fourth Avenue SE and from Central Avenue up Fifth Street SW to West Side School. After schools routes in the downtown business district and then residential.

3 Hintz said while there is no specific residential order, they do try to be fair to citizens. For example, if crews started on the northeast side of town during the last storm, they try to begin on the southwest side of town the next time and rotate around.

4 To help make snow removal more efficient, residents are prohibited from pushing snow onto public streets or alleys, per city ordinance 9-7-2, “Unlawful dumping of snow onto public rights of way.” Hintz said residents can push the snow onto their lawns instead.

5 Such ordinances are not arbitrary. Come spring, the city is always concerned with floodings. Properly stored snow can reduce the stress on streets and alleys and allow water to drain properly.

6 Police will be ticketing campers, trailers or boats still parked on streets. Such recreational vehicles are not permitted to be stored on the street and hinder the snow removal process this time of year.

7 While personal vehicles are permitted to be parked on the street, Hintz asked that if residents see snow removal crews coming to please move the vehicles to allow for better efficiency.

8 For snow removal, the city has five trucks to haul snow, one snow blower, one maintainer, a skid-steer with a broom for the walking path, two sanding trucks, a bladed truck, two loaders and a backhoe for parking lots. That’s upwards of $1.5 million in snow removal equipment.

9 The budget for snow removal is it’s own fund for the first time this fiscal year, with $359,000 designated. Of that, $210,000 is out of the general fund and is to be used for equipment.

10 City clerk/treasurer Jessica Redfield said making snow removal an enterprise fund allows the city to begin saving money for future equipment. On tax statements this year $25 will appear per property for the snow removal fund.

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