We were excited to offer this new service giving City residents to chance to grab a bucket and take a few scoops of salt to de-ice their front walkway but unfortunately some people took advantage of the offer choosing to fill and re-fill trucks rather than buckets.
With some taking more than their share, it got to the point where keeping the bin full had become a full time job — and we just don’t have the staff to offer full serve. So what started out as a little something extra for residents became a point of frustration for those residents that pulled in only to find the bin empty as plow contractors left with full trucks.
We had to do something. We kept trying to pull a driver off of their jobs to re-fill the bin but it eventually got to the point where it was disrupting the completion of other important public service tasks so we had to make an executive decision — which in this case ended up being to pull the plug, at least until we can figure out a way to keep the service manageable.
The original plan was to rely on the honor code of residents to take just the amount they would need to spread salt on the sidewalks around their home but that left us vulnerable to private plowing contractors or businesses that saw this as a chance to cut their costs. We’re all for private contractors cutting their costs but it just can’t be at the expense of the taxpayers — which is what ended up happening.
Even worse, we found some people making their way into the City’s salt dome which is a real safety hazard (not to mention trespassing).
The program is suspended while we re-group and see if we can find a way to put the salt in a place where we can monitor it better and keep it available to residents with buckets but not contractors in trucks. I’m not sure what the solution is yet, but we hope to discuss this further with City Council in the weeks that follow.
Thanks for your patience.