Plowing through a problem in Post Falls

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Wile

Snow removal in Post Falls is a joke and here’s why.

My husband is originally from a small town back east that is 44 square miles in size and they plowed every street any time accumulation was 2 or more inches because doing this managed the thaw/freeze cycle and kept their streets safe. How do I know this? His father was one of the volunteer plow drivers.

Our street in Post Falls was plowed six times in FY 16, three times in FY 17. Why the difference and how is it that a city the size of 14 square miles can’t manage to plow all its streets?

So, back in FY 17 I researched the snow removal plan on the Post Falls website and found that our street would only get plowed when there was 3-4 inches of accumulation. This explained why we’re always driving on 2-3 inches of ice.

And then in FY 18 the street was plowed twice and now in FY 19 we’ve only seen the plow once. And yes, I know we have not had a lot of accumulation this past December but who knows for winter of ’19, so again, I had to know, why the difference?

This time I emailed the Street Maintenance Division and Amy Rainville, the nice lady who responded, directed me to the priority snow removal and de-icing plan. The old snow plan is no longer available, and the new “priority” plan is in its place. Hmm, a reasonable snow removal plan allowing residential streets to be plowed for pedestrian and driver safety reduced to a priority plan.

Letters to the editor are generally filled with more opinions than facts, so let me drop some facts.

The Strategy Chart for the city of Post Falls states one of their goals is to have a safe community and their objective is to maintain a safe and secure community but there is nothing in this very thorough document that references maintaining safe, drivable streets for pedestrians and drivers. The city of Post Falls proudly states we have 150 center-line miles and 50 miles of alleyways. Property tax revenues for Post Falls in FY16 were $9,304,925, in FY17 they were $10,242,925 and $10,408,290 in FY18. Budgeted revenues for the city of Post Falls were $9,040,855 in FY16, $10,030,925 in FY17 and $10,246,290 in FY18.

Post Falls averages 60 inches of snow and the city’s Snow and Ice Removal budgeted expenditures were $89,771 in FY16, $45,000 in FY17 and $45,000 in FY18. If I may summarize, the revenues increased by a total of $2.3 million since FY 16 and the Snow and Ice Removal budget was cut in half. Aha! Now I know why the city went from reasonable to priority.

I fear our street will never be plowed again as it is not considered an artery to a main street and this surprises me because a big yellow bus runs through our street every school day morning and afternoon. I also fear for my safety and the safety of our good neighbors driving down a snow-covered sheet of ice on my way to the plowed arterial street.

Thank goodness our snowfall has been light for winter of ’18. Who knows for ’19? Maybe I’ll call Ron’s Snow Plowing to design and pay for my own snow removal plan.

•••

Geri Wile is a Post Falls resident.

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