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County snowplowing draws complaints

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news Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

Budget cuts lead to longer plow routes, slower service in areas

WORTHINGTON -- Between the falling snow and the blowing snow, Nobles County snowplow drivers have had more than their share of work to do this winter season -- but apparently it isn't enough for some rural residents.

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During their Nobles County Board meeting on Tuesday, Commissioners asked Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder for a report on the snowplowing situation. Several said they had received calls and complaints about roads not being cleared quick enough. In some instances, people complained that schools had to start late because the plows weren't getting out early enough in the morning.

Schnieder said the department has had to revamp its workload due to budget cuts. They have 11 plow drivers now, compared to 12 a few years ago -- a position was never refilled because of a county budget shortfall -- and they also have a limited amount of money available for overtime, a line item that also fell victim to budget cuts.

The plow drivers have longer routes because they are one person short, and with the limited amount of overtime pay in the budget, Schnieder said plow drivers are sent out at 7 a.m. (6 a.m. if roads are blocked) and then go home at 3:30 p.m., instead of working until their normal 4:30 p.m. schedule.

"Could you go out earlier in the morning and stay later at night?" asked Commissioner Diane Thier.

This story will be updated.

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Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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