County snowplowing draws complaints
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.
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.