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Minding Our Snow Business

For sure, the cost of local service delivery is higher up in the north than in the southern states -- as we are now talking about snow removal.

Growing up where snow is once four-hundred-years, I had no idea about snow removal until I moved up to the Midwest several years ago. In Minnesota, I learned that local governments plow snow from public streets when a “Snow Emergency” is declared, while property owners may be required to clean up snow and ice on adjacent public sidewalks. In this week’s PA5113 class, I got to know a new kind of collective decision on our “snow business”: alley plowing, which may be done by private contractors jointly hired by property owners of a same block.

In 2006 there was a surprisingly heated discussion in the St. Paul Issues Forum about alley plowing. The topic was nicely summarized in this blog: Alley Plowing in St. Paul | E-Democracy.Org. Frustrated by the difficulty to collect money at times, some thought that this was a service the city ought to provide; other, however, warned the city to keep away...

Comments

What an interesting observation! I lived in North Jersey. Two neighboring towns have different ways of plowing snow: One is fully served by the township, the other get none. I haven't figured out why they do differently. Cost-benefit analysis on the part of the local government or preferences of local residents??

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Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs