“We haven’t been using any overtime to plow the streets,” said Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner during the council’s informal monthly breakfast meeting this Wednesday, January 4. Local drivers on Lamar’s secondary streets have noted that the snow removal process is taking longer, compared to the 2006-2007 holiday blizzard. During that blizzard, the entire southeast region was aided by a prolonged response from various state agencies with equipment to help the area dig out from under a larger amount of snow.
The timing of the current snowfall has also effected cleanup operations, covering the Christmas and New Year’s city break. The extreme cold following the initial snowfall also worked against cleanup operations, as the consistency of the snow left in the roads was similar to cast iron, and plows just weren’t able to make any headway against it while temperatures remained below freezing.
And there’s just the availability of equipment that can be brought into play. Councilman Keith Nidey remarked that the city doesn’t have the budget to purchase additional pieces of snow removal equipment that would be used only after snowstorms of this nature. “We purchase equipment that can be used in a lot of different situations throughout the year. That makes more economic sense without having to raise everyone’s taxes to cover extra equipment purchases,” he said. Since last week, the city has been using the airport snowblower to help clean the median snow strips along side streets in town. Everyone is expecting the warmer weather to help melt and loosen the frozen snow from the streets during the next few of days.
By Russ Baldwin