Snow removal a hot button topic

Patience is a virtue when it comes to snow removal.

Everyone wants their road plowed out first, but our city public works departments only have so many pieces of equipment and workers to get the job done. That’s where the patience part of the equation comes in. 

Towns and townships throughout the Black Hills have snow removal plans that determine when and where they plow. Get to know what your city’s plan is so that you can talk knowledgeable to friends and neighbors about expectations for city crews.

And most towns have designated snow routes which serve as emergency routes and get plowed first during a snow event. Most of these are posted with signs. People living on a snow route must remove their vehicles from the street to allow for curb to curb cleaning by city crews when snowstorms happen. Failure to remove vehicles could result in a ticket and tow of the vehicle. 

In many communities, the ordinance takes effect whenever the National Weather Service forecasts snow accumulations of 4 inches or more.  

Residents must also do their part when it comes to snow removal. Most communities have an ordinance about clearing your sidewalks of snow and ice, not only for your safety, but also for the safety of postal and other carriers and others who have to use sidewalks on a regular basis.

Get to know that policy also, because failure to clear your sidewalks may cost you financially. 

In some communities, if a resident fails to remove snow from their sidewalks the city may hire someone to do so. Then, the homeowner, or businessowner is responsible for the actual costs of the removal of the snow and ice, plus an administrative fee.

And its common sense that if you keep on top of snow removal from the first snowfall, it will make it easier for you to remove snow from future storms and it won’t get as compacted down and turn to ice.

Most communities prohibit you from removing snow or ice from your property and placing it onto a public street. Know too, that it may get you a fine depending on your city’s ordinance.

We know that in the Black Hills we are bound to get a few more spring snowstorms, so our advice to residents is to arm yourself not only with a snow shovel or snowblower, but also the knowledge of your community’s snow removal plan.

And for city officials, be proactive in educating and communicating with your residents about your snow removal efforts. If the plows will start clearing at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., let the residents know. Keep them apprised of your actions. When everyone is on the same page, there is more of a chance to curtail complaints from residents regarding the city’s approach to plowing residential streets. 

Black Hills Pioneer,

Editorial Board

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