Sisters plows through much of snow budget


Last updated 3/12/2024 at 11:11am

Public Works Director Paul Bertagna will be happy when spring arrives. Nearly all of Sisters was under a blanket of snow for 10 weeks. Bertagna and his crews have found themselves at all hours of days and nights tackling the beast.

The City has plowed through $42,800 of its $50,000 snow-removal budget with a good four to six weeks left of possible accumulation.

Four of Bertagna’s staff are trained to handle the job. He occasionally has to jump in himself when the snow comes hard. The City has six pieces of dedicated snow-removal equipment and another eight that can be converted. Four plows can be attached to pick-up trucks. There are two dump truck/sander plows and a path plow employed to clear 62 lane-miles of streets and walkways.

The Nugget asked Bertagna when the work begins.

“When it’s three inches and still snowing with snow in the forecast. We like to plow at night (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) if at all possible so there is less traffic to deal with, but sometimes the storms don’t behave and we have to plow during the daytime hours to keep our arterials and collectors open.”

For the most part, citizens express appreciation and understanding for the situation. A few think the City could do more. A discussion at a recent Sisters Downtown Business Association meeting found a few merchants complaining that the City needs to help businesses do more to manage snow in front of their shops. Others object to the occasional piles of snow that eat into parking slots.

Mayor Michael Preedin said, “Some cities our size have no snow removal at all and it has to go somewhere.”

He doesn’t think that any snow piles are keeping shoppers out of stores.

The piles in question at the corners of blocks are generally left to melt on their own.

“We only haul snow piles when there is a concern of another large storm in the forecast and we won’t have enough room for the additional snow storage, or if we need to uncover storm drains. We haul just the piles that are encroaching into the travel lane or present a visibility issue at an intersection,” Bertagna said.

A consistent impediment to plowing are cars parked on the streets. When the snow starts accumulating, owners are asked, if possible, to move their cars so that crews can clear streets as widely as possible.

Likewise, on trash pick-up days try not to put out cans the night before.


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