FOX47 NEWS - 4 Inch Snow Proposal

Jeff Angileri
Jul 28, 2009, 10:44 PM

When the brutal chill of winter returns to Wisconsin, Madison's streets could stay snow-covered longer.

Under a new proposal, the streets department would only plow residential streets with more than 4 inches of snow accumulation. Right now, streets are cleared after 3 inches or more. Main roads and thoroughfares would still be cleared when there is 1/8 inch or more. Bus stops and crosswalks would not be cleared on overtime.

Madison city agencies are getting ready to slash their operating budgets by 6 percent next year -- a contingency plan requested by the mayor, to deal with rising expenses and falling revenue.

The move would save $190,000 dollars a year.

"We have pretty much trimmed the fat from our budget," said George Dreckmann, Madison Streets Department.

Dreckmann says they are at a point where any cuts they propose would impact residents.

"People would have to drive slower until they got to the main street, no question about it, and you run the risk of seeing that material pack down on the street," he said.

That is not sitting well with Madisonians.

"I think three inches is plenty enough to be struggling through," said Anna Campbell. "I think four inches could leave the streets a mess and a lot of people stuck."

"I think it's hard enough to get your car out when it's three inches, so I think it's a horrible idea," said Pamela Dempsey.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has rejected the plan before.

"It think that people expect a certain level of service with regard to snow plowing," he said. "People need to get around the city. Our emergency vehicles need to get around the city. I think it's highly, highly unlikely I would take that kind of cut."

Still, some residents don't thing the extra inch is a big hassle.

"I think it seems okay," said Lois Bergerson. "Maybe it will result in people having to shovel their cars out a little more often in the street, but it doesn't seem like the end of the world."

Instead of cutting back on snowplowing, mayor Cieslewicz says he supports cutting back on large-item garbage pickup.

Right now, trucks collect oversize items every week. The mayor says reducing pickup to once every two weeks, or once a month, could save more than a quarter million dollars.

Agencies have to submit their operating budgets by July 31, then the mayor has until October to propose a budget to full city council for a vote.

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