Council wasn't prepared to make a decision about spending $6 million on new snow control equipment Monday night, instead referring the matter to a later committee of the whole meeting.
A report from operations director Bill Gaal put forward an ask to cover the replacement of the city's snow clearing fleet.
This would cover aging graders, sanding trucks, sidewalk plows, front-end loaders and a snow blower - a $5.8 million capital expense. An additional heavy duty mechanic would also be required, as would the rental of two grader and the replacement of an unreliable tandem axle unit - a $583,000 increase to the snow operations budget.
But council wanted more information, ranging from the age of equipment and their replacement schedule, the street priority policy, contracting equipment, etc.
"This is a huge, huge deal to the community and as a council we owe it to the community and to indulge this process," said Coun. Lyn Hall.
"We have to look as this as a holistic problem," agreed Coun. Albert Koehler, who put forward the motion to discuss the issue at the dedicated meeting.
Earlier in the nearly hour-long discussion, Koehler expressed his frustration with the report from Gaal, a post-mortem of snow clearing issues faced in December and January. The review was conducted by unionized foremen, equipment operators as well as exempt management staff.
"Just a few weeks ago, everything was just fine," he said, referring to Gaal's report on Jan. 20 that said the challenges were due to the extreme weather.
Coun. Brian Skakun also pointed to the difference in tone between the two reports. "In the first [report]... you said snow removal efforts hadn't changed. Clearly they had," Skakun said. "We can't look at spending our way out of this mess. We have to manage our way out as well."
The earliest the meeting would be held is in April.
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