KAMLOOPS — When we published a table this week comparing snow clearing budgets in different BC communities, the response was swift.
"The budget doesn't matter," Facebook said.
"What matters is how the plow operators do their jobs."
Well, those two factors are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, the budget directly relates to how the plow operators are doing their jobs.
Here's how it works:
When a big snowfall hits, crews will work overtime to ensure arterial roads and bus routes at the very least are passable.
The snow clearing budget is largely set aside to pay for overtime expenses.
The complaints around snow clearing generally focus on how careless operators seem to be.
They drive too fast, they bury parked cars, they have no time to minimize the windrows they leave in front of driveways, and they seem to have no time to ensure bus stops have a clear path over the curb.
All of those complaints relate to the amount of time taken.
Do you see the correlation here?
If you want plow operators to take more care, they need to take more time, or there need to be more of them.
That means taxpayers will need to pay more money.
So the budget does matter.
It matters a lot.
Prince George budgets about five times what Kamloops does for snow clearing, and that should guarantee an almost military operation to clear snow in that city.
And yet there are many Prince George residents who aren't happy with the value they are receiving for the money.
It's evidence that residents will complain, almost no matter what.
Former Mayor Peter Milobar was fond of saying Kamloops can have the greatest snow clearing in the world, if the tax payers want to pony up.
If you are willing to part with more of your hard-earned money for better snow clearing, we can get it.
If not, I guess we'll just have to be satisfied with what we have.
Maybe not happy, but satisfied.
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