As staff shortages continue to impact our nation, the Town of Jackson is not immune. Currently the Town’s Snowplow Street’s Division, which usually employs 11 people has only 8 staff members.
Other Town staff including the Assistant Public Works Director, Streets Manager, Water Manager, Senior Water Utility Operator, Senior Wastewater Collections Operator, and Meter Reader, who each have other roles in the Public Works department, are filling in behind the wheels of snowplows to help keep our streets clear.
Please be patient, expect that the Town will not be plowed as quickly as it has been in the past and that some areas may not be plowed within 24 hours following storms.
The Town’s snowplow drivers start their day at 2:30am and in the past typically had streets cleared of snow by 7:30am. With current staff shortages, this simply is not possible, and it has been closer to noon before plowing routes are completed after recent storms.
The snowplow team is currently getting everything done, but with fewer people, it takes more time and means more hours on the clock for an over-worked staff. As winter continues, this could mean alleys and public parking lots do not get plowed within 24 hours of snowstorms.
In addition, the Parks & Rec crew plows sidewalks, pathways, and ice rinks in Town. This department is also currently down 3 staff due to hiring challenges and COVID. In the past, their plow team completed their plowing between 5:00 and 9:00am. With current staff and storms, they are not finished with plowing until 12:00pm. With staff shortages, Parks & Rec is clearing but not detailing ice rinks.
Town Manager Larry Pardee, who got his start in Town Government plowing streets in Vail, Colorado shares, “Our crews are working hard and getting the job done and I am empowering them to take care of themselves as much as the streets. Highways and main streets are the priority and there may be significant delays getting alleys and parking lots plowed as our departments are under-resourced. Thank you for everyone’s patience and understanding as we all get through this winter together with the available resources.”
The good news is that the community can help by being more aware and doing simple things. Here are various things to do to help keep our community on safely plowed roads.
- Keep trashcans off streets and sidewalks until after 7:00am –trashcans in the street the night before trash pick-up means plow drivers have to maneuver around or get out and move them, which wastes valuable time and energy.
- Do not park cars in alleys and do not block sidewalks with cars.
- Give plows plenty of space when the streets are being plowed.
- From 2:00 – 7:00am do not park on streets, in Town parking lots, or on the top floor of the parking garage.
Streets Manager Sam Jewison wants to highlight that the Town’s plow team is working around the clock and shares, “I am really proud of this team for putting in extra effort. They deserve patience, support, and gratitude from our entire community.”
Public Works and Parks & Rec are two of many local government departments juggling workloads with limited staff. Various departments are looking hard at their required duties and work plans and are recalibrating what needs to be completed and in what order of priority given current capacity and available resources. Thank you to our community for patience and understanding.