Public Perception and Snow Removal

Public complaints about snow removal. Its practically a yearly ritual, and at Tuesdays regular meeting of the Mono Supervisors, numerous county department heads commented on the current issues regarding snow removal within the county.

Public Works Director Evan Nikirk reported to the board that his department has been working overtime to deliver the level of snow removal people expect, but admits that it has fallen short in some cases. Part of that is due to public perception, when citizens expect more than the county is capable of delivering. Nikirk called that perception a big part of the problem, and explained that the county is limited by the equipment they own, personnel, and road department funding.

According to Chairwoman Vikki Bauer, the state has reduced road funding for the county in recent years, as well as to Caltrans. These reductions have put the county in the position of having to decide whether to use general fund dollars to provide what has historically been supported by state-imposed taxes.

The countys snow removal priority map was re-approved in December 2007, when all county roads were assigned a priority level for plowing. No roads changed priority this year.

An uncommon amount of finger-pointing accompanied the discussions, and Caltrans was among those who took some heat. Supervisors Farnetti, Reid, and Hazard all shared the feeling that Hwy 395 was being closed earlier than it has been in years past.

Nikirk, as well as Sheriff Scholl, explained how 395 closures affect county services. Scholl reported that 2 Sheriffs watch commanders were stuck in closures last week for 5 hours. Nikirk explained how Public Works mechanics were unable to get to work because of the closures, when vital snow removal equipment was down.

All parties were in agreement that additional cooperation between the agencies is necessary to alleviate these problems in the future. The item is agendized for Mondays Local Transportation Commission meeting in Mammoth.

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