Downtown Vernon BrownKnows respond to the snowgates issue on his website


Vernon responds to all the ANON people out there;

Thank you for the comments on the snow gates posting. I especially appreciate Theresa Stehly courageously putting her name to her comments rather than doing it annonymously. Theresa and I recently had what I found to be a productive phone discussion about this issue and others. I respect her passion for this and other issues. Here are a couple follow-ups:

You stinky rotten ANON people, what do you know? Especially you Costner. Go dance with the wolves or something.

  • Further investigation – I committed to Theresa that I’d call the vendor she referenced. I placed that call Friday and left a message.

Yeah, and I had tea with the tooth fairy today. By the way, her unicorn says hi.

  • 40% increased cost – “Costner” asked how snow gates can add 40% to the cost of snow removal. This goes beyond the intial cost of equipment. It’s the extra time it takes to plow a street with the gates. Plow operators can’t go as fast with snow gates. The biggest expense in any snow removal is overtime, or in the case of the latest historic event, holiday pay. In that $1.8 million event, the snow gates would have cost an extra $720,000. However, the major point is that they wouldn’t work anyway. Vendors say up to 12 inches. In practice, it’s typically anything more than eight inches.

Actually several communities says it saves time, because you don’t have to go back and clean out windrows in intersections AND you don’t have to slow down to use snowgates. Did you watch the video? But more importantly this is about public safety and damage to vehicles. And furthermore some cities have used the gates in up to 30″ of snow. As for your fuzzy math, we can tell you are a marketing person and not an accountant.

  • Argus Story – For more on this issue click here to read a recent story. Note the quote from Bismarck’s assistant city administrator that snow gates don’t clear your driveway like you shoveled.

No they don’t, but instead of scooping 4 feet of snow out of the driveway, you scoop 4 inches. This last snowfall I went out with a shovel RIGHT AFTER  the snowplow came by. Some of it was so hard, I actually was throwing chunks of ice-snow the size of field rocks instead of scooping. This is assanine. I pay taxes to remove snow from my street, I don’t pay them to push that snow into my private drive.

I live on an emergency route. If anyone would love to have snow disappear from the end of my driveway, it’d be me. That is if they would truly work. I will continue the research. However, it is all about priorities and for me my priority would be to save the extra 40% for badly needed street repairs come spring. That’s where I see demand from citizens for more improved services.

So when is the city gonna start spending money on the streets instead of monkey crappers? Just wondering. Vernon, I don’t think snowgates would work on all the crap you spread. I’ll have all the ANON people clean it up.


#1 Helga on 01.10.10 at 2:30 am

Maybe everyone who is sick and tired of shoveling those bricks of ice the snow plow leaves should call Vernon to come on over and help shovel out their driveway. Maybe he would change his mind about the snowgate. Shoveling what the snowplow leaves is a PITA. Vernon needs to think about the residents of Sioux Falls and not the money. Doesn’t come out of his checkbook.

#2 Costner on 01.10.10 at 12:06 pm

I’m still left wondering where he gets this magical 40% figure… sounds like he is pulling it straight from you-know-where.

And since we all know snowgates won’t function during a 18″ blizzard (or at least not as effectively) the snowplow operators could just leave them in the “up” position and thus there would be zero added cost to the snow event.

Also, I’ve watched the videos and can easily tell you that those plows were operating at least as fast as the snow plows do here without snow gates.

As far as the expectation of clearing snow – I came home after our 18″ blizzard on Sunday and found three and a half feet of snow at the end of my driveway. I kid you not – three and a half feet of rock solid snow that had to be moved one scoop at a time because my snowblower couldn’t even touch it.

Maybe with snow gates that could have only been six or eight inches. That surely would have made my life easier – and I’m a healthy guy who can manage to dig myself out. What about the elderly or the disabled? There are only so many volunteers out there to help these people – the rest are forced to pay for snow removal, and during one of our last storms companies were so busy it was taking them days to reach some customers.

Does that sound like something a city should try to remedy? You bet.

The least Vernon could do is pilot them on a few plows that work on emergency snow routes. To invent figures such as “40%” or to dismiss the idea without so much as an actual review is displaying a significant lack of leadership.

#3 Plaintiff Guy on 01.10.10 at 12:22 pm

Yes, it may cost more. However, think of the savings at public driveways and city facilities where city employees must clear. With the best benefits package in the state and considering they only work 1 hour per day, city employees are $500/hour. Snow gates are cheaper.

I find in city codes anything about public right-of-way driveway clearing. There’s something about right-of-way sidewalks (your frontage, their property). City codes are weak. In many cases, one code states something then retracts or counters in another. Code copies are not provided by the city. You must purchase partial copies at

Possible protests:
1. Send the city a bill for clearing their end of your driveway.
2. Blow snow into their street.
3. Don’t bother clearing their sidewalk.

Citations don’t mean anything and can’t be collected. Someday, after home-rule socialism, snow gates will be implemented.

#4 Plaintiff Guy on 01.10.10 at 12:52 pm

I poured concrete near a fire hydrant in front of my home. I have heart disease (5 surgerys) and can’t shovel. With concrete, I could get a snowblower in to keep the only hydrant on my block (30 homes) cleared. I got a citation from their gestapo tough guy some 3 years ago. So much for ever clearing around their fire hydrant. Citation was not paid. I asked for more on softer paper for bathroom use. They fined $200 and have no way to collect. There’s no terms or interest so it shall be perpetual on city books to the tune of $200/year accounting cost. Some day, 1 million AD, an archaeologist will wonder why the city accounted for so many unpaid citations. I shall leave a time capsule so they can figure out that the city could not take citizens to court because Home-Rule does not allow for appeals.

The city will be heeded and respected when they return to constitutional democracy.

#5 l3wis on 01.10.10 at 7:35 pm

In the city of Idaho, the public works director told Theresa they love the snowgates, in fact the last mayor got elected on running on that one issue alone (POP, 50,000). The director told Theresa that they have used them in every storm, once even in 30 inches of snow (there average is 100 inches a year) In the Fall they even let people rake their leaves in the street and the city comes by with the plows and cleans them up.

Coeurdalene is a popular vacation spot, it is right on the Idaho/Washington border on I-90. I have been there several times.

#6 redhatterb on 01.10.10 at 8:35 pm

I think snow gates would be well worth the money. The “city fathers” really should consider spending money on them instead a new event center. Necessities first.

#7 Ghost of Dude on 01.11.10 at 8:01 am

Red – the cost is a drop in th ebucket compared to an EC and could be done instead of a few zoo improvements.
The only reason Vernon is against this idea is because Kermit is for it.

#8 Plaintiff Guy on 01.11.10 at 9:24 am

Ghost of Dude

“The only reason Vernon is against this idea is because Kermit is for it.”

True. Snowplow gates could be the election question that turns voters away from Brown.

#9 l3wis on 01.11.10 at 11:22 am

Like I have said before, it would take little city investment. The subcontractors are the ones that would be required to buy them and maintain them. The city would only need to purchase a few for the Emergency snowroutes.

#10 Costner on 01.11.10 at 12:13 pm

That said l3wis, if we mandate contractors install them, you can bet they will pass on the cost in their bid. Either way we (meaning the city and therefore the taxpayers) will end up paying for their purchase price and maintenance costs.

The only question is if these costs are of the level which we could consider reasonable and/or an accepted value to the taxpayer. Clearly Vernon would say the cost is too high although I have a hard time understanding how he can make such an assumption without piloting a program to make the decision based upon facts rather than rumor and second hand information.

Our city leaders are more than willing to finance a study to learn about art or parking or taxes or an events center or zoo expansions or flood control… but ask them to pony up a few dollars to pilot a snow gate project and suddenly they can’t justify the costs.

I think GoD has it right… the only reason Vernon is against this idea is because Staggers supports it and/or it wasn’t Vernon’s idea.

#11 anominous on 01.11.10 at 9:27 pm

I think the citizens should be allowed to opt-out on whether or not the snowplow driver uses the gate on their driveways. Kind of like passover.

#12 l3wis on 01.12.10 at 12:45 am

Get out the Lamb’s blood!

#13 Best of Dacola — South DaCola on 10.11.15 at 11:44 pm

[…] We started the Snowgate campaign, and again , and BrownKnows responds […]

Leave a Comment