Cities may not pay enough for snowplows
May 2, 2008
Some cities might need to pay more for snowplowing from Summit County.
"We really had a tough time meeting all of our service obligations this year," Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said.
Plowing the streets in Oakley and Francis prevents plow operators from focusing their efforts on the unincorporated parts of the county.
"Subdivisions require quite a bit of effort to take care of," Callahan said.
Cities should pay more when cul-de-sacs are cleared, he said.
"It’s extremely time consuming," County Public Works official Stephen Keyes said. "There were a lot more hours this winter involved in snowplowing."
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But the cities and the Utah Department of Transportation did not shoulder their part of the load, Callahan said.
"We didn’t bring this forward as any kind of ultimatum," he said, adding that municipalities in eastern Summit County should plow all of their new subdivisions. "We’re feeling very challenged."
But cities pay for the snowplowing services they receive, Oakley Mayor Blake Frazier said. Oakley has about 1,300 people and pays Summit County between $1,000 and $8,000 per year for snowplowing.
"It’d be tough for Oakley to snowplow all the roads," Frazier said. "There are a few roads that we could pick up."
Next year, Francis Mayor John Bergen said he does not expect as much snow as last winter.
"It was a very bad winter," Bergen said.
Francis sits near the southern edge of Summit County and has about 889 residents.
According to Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, "as long as [cities are] paying for it, I cannot see that it’s creating a burden with Public Works."
"One way or another, the snowplowing services are subsidized," County Commissioner Bob Richer replied. "We have to strive for a little bit more equity."
Cracking down too hard, though, could impact the ability for Francis and Oakley to keep roads clear, Richer said, adding that snow-removal rates for the cities will not change next year.
Equipping a truck to plow roads in Oakley could cost $100,000, Frazier said.
Clearing snow this year in Coalville was a "budget buster," Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt.
Officials in Summit County do not provide plowing in the city, he explained.
"It was extremely expensive to provide snowplowing this year," Schmidt said. "We spent the budget, plus some. There are some little things that we’re just going to cut back on to try to make up the difference."
Snowplow operators in Coalville "do an excellent job," he said.
"These guys have to get up every morning and look out the window and see if it’s snowing," Schmidt said, adding that the city clears sidewalks in front of homes.
In Henefer, town officials have cleared snow for two decades, Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard said.
"[The snowplow] was going out every day this year," Ovard said. "Usually, we would push snow once a week or once every other week."
But the budget for snow removal in Henefer finished in the black, he said.
"It was close," Ovard said. "Henefer is a pretty confined community. You’ve got square blocks and most of the town is concentrated."
Francis and Oakley are more spread out, he said.
"There you’ve got so much road," Ovard said.