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Our Opinion: Jefferson City snow removal: Past and future

Our Opinion: Jefferson City snow removal: Past and future

March 26th, 2013 in News

According to our forecast, the excellent service Jefferson City has enjoyed - again this weekend - may be clouded by future budget cuts.

In response to Sunday's early-spring snowfall, road crews from the city's Public Works Department worked diligently to make our streets passable and safe.

We have visited other communities in the aftermath of winter storms and we would rank Jefferson City's street crews among the best, if not the best.

Whenever excellence becomes customary, a tendency exists to take it for granted.

We fear, however, recent city budget cuts may diminish the capacity to sustain first-rate snow removal.

City officials recently revealed a $1.68 million budget shortfall. The City Council last week approved a range of cuts to close the gap.

The cuts to the public works agency are among the largest, including a $200,000 reduction in street chemicals.

Those chemicals primarily are used in snow removal efforts, according to Britt Smith, operations division director.

The budget reduction, he said, means the department's supplies will not be restocked this fiscal year. Prior to Sunday's storm, he said the city had used about half its existing supply of street chemicals.

The quality and pace of snow removal depends on a range of factors, including manpower, equipment and supplies.

Jefferson City historically has prioritized those factors to maintain passable, safe roads for its residents.

The budget decision to eliminate restocking street chemicals may not be a problem.

Or, it may impede the ability of road crews to provide the high level of service that has become the norm.

Time, and the unpredictability of Mother Nature, will tell.