The costs of snow plowing the city adds up - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

The costs of snow plowing the city adds up

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The recent snow is keeping the Sioux Falls Streets Department busy.

But it said it ended the year about $400,000 under budget.

The department kicks off the new year with a new budget for snow removal.

We only had a few flurries Wednesday but when the heavy snow comes down, the costs to clear every street, road or avenue across the city can really add up.

City plows are ready to hit the streets at a moments notice this winter.

Sioux Falls Streets Department manager Galynn Huber said "we have to roll with it, with the weather. We schedule in a whole bunch of people thinking we're going to have to plow the city out, and now that we have just less, right over an inch, we don't have to plow the entire city out. I'm calling people back up again to say you don't have to report."

And unless the city issues a snow alert, the plows might bypass your neighborhood.

"Well, there's a reason for it. I have emergency routes and secondary routes. And if I get less than 2 inches of snow, I stay on the emergency routes and secondary routes. I don't go down the residential streets and put chemical down on the residential streets. The expense, it's too expensive," Huber said.

And depending upon the forecast, those costs can add up. To wipe the streets clean for a citywide snow alert, it takes 100 city employees and 30 contractors, working 12 hour shifts
plus overtime, plowing at a $150,000 per inch of snow.

If it's a light snowfall, it's a cool $100,000 for just de-icing and sanding.

But a team of snow plows isn't the only way the streets get cleared.

"What I always tell people is, you are my eyes and ears. We have people throughout the city, but there's 73 square miles, and so you as a resident in the city of Sioux Falls, if you see issues on a residential street, give us a call. You can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Huber said.

And a snow day is not a day off for the streets department.

"This is our job, this is what we do, no matter what it is," Huber said.

"So we just kind of roll with it a little bit, what ever comes our direction, we're going to take care of, to the best of our ability, and to try to keep the roads as safe as possible, that's our mission," Huber added.

Huber said the money the department saved on fewer snow alerts goes back to the city's reserve fund.

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