Does the city sweep leaves from the street anymore?


Over the last few years, I have heard more and more complaints from residents that public works is not sweeping the streets for leaves anymore. Obviously, today wouldn’t be the ideal day to do it, BUT over the last couple of months, the city could have easily swept the streets. We have the resources (funding, employees, street sweepers) so why don’t we do it?

The mayor and public works MAY claim this is a cost saving measure, but I would disagree. Clogging the street drains with leaves can get very expensive, very fast. Keeping streets clean from foliage waste also helps with cutting down on surface corrosion.

So why isn’t the city doing it? I know the mayor has been asked about it several times in public meetings, and Public Works director Cotter has mentioned that adjoining property owners are responsible for out to the middle of the street. Huh?! So not only must we fix the city’s sidewalks, maintain the trees in the boulevard, but now we need to sweep the streets for them to? What next? Put snowplows on the front of our cars and plow our own streets? (which isn’t too far from the truth considering the poor job they have been doing plowing the main roads today).

This push to conserve and save the city money on street sweeping might be prudent if the city was in dire straits, hardly the case after building a $100 million dollar events center and the council is preparing to give $500K to the mayor’s wife’s private indoor tennis facility.

The city has money to sweep the streets. Start doing it.


#1 Lamb Chislic on 12.04.13 at 2:49 pm

Once you get snowgates passed in April, I recommend you make this your next cause:

Milwaukee, WI and Grand Forks, ND are two northern cities where on designated weekends residents are instructed to rake their leaves into the street and city crews literally vacuum them up! No bagging, no hauling to compost sites, no lingering mess. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s good public service.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 12.04.13 at 4:35 pm

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho they use snowgates to sweep up leaves after residents rake them into the street.

#3 Mark on 12.04.13 at 7:43 pm

Don’t sweep leaves onto the streets in Grand Forks or else you risk getting a ticket. We rake them onto the berm and the city tries to make two passes. If you miss the day they come down your street, you can take the leaves to designated collection sites. And yes, it’s done with a mega vacuum cleaner.

#4 Taxpayer-Voter on 12.04.13 at 9:03 pm

I don’t know about sweeping leaves, but I just finished shoveling out the end of my driveway after the plow went through, AND I WANT SNOWGATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#5 LJL on 12.04.13 at 9:30 pm

It’s illegal to dump your leaves in the street. You took a picture of a pig homeowner who thinks the city should rid them of their problems.

FYI…. This snow event was too much for snowgates, so you would have been shoveling anyways.

#6 Detroit Lewis on 12.04.13 at 10:10 pm

Snowgates work up to 20 inches of snow, especially using Henke. And dry, cold snow, like we got today, is perfect with snowgates. Keep drinking Lalley’s Kool-aid.

#7 Taxpayer-Voter on 12.05.13 at 6:05 am

LJL (and Patrick Lalley),

I wish there were a way for the City to maintain a list of all those that oppose snowgates.

Then, when this passes the voters next year, the plow operators can skip cleaning out all of your driveways!

#8 Taxpayer-Voter on 12.05.13 at 6:15 am


Snow Gates Back Again This Winter

December 4, 2013, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

#9 Poly43 on 12.05.13 at 6:44 am

For most plow drivers, last nite was their first “real and live” experience with snowgates. ljl must have some insiders view on the topic. If they failed, it will be a failure by design.

#10 Craig on 12.05.13 at 8:52 am

I support snowgates only because it is safety and health issue. I’d never support the city coming around and picking up people’s leaves just because they are too cheap or lazy to do it themselves.

Nobody is forced to rake or dispose of their leaves – so in reality this is a cosmetic issue. If you don’t want to rake leaves then don’t – but also don’t expect the city to clean up after you.

I swear some of you feel the city should change the oil in your car and paint your homes while they are at it… after all they are just public services right?

Aside from the fact that piles of leaves raked into the street can clog storm drains if it happens to rain, there is also the issue of how those pesky South Dakota winds would blow them everywhere even before anyone had the opportunity to pick them up. It would create parking issues, it is safety issue for those on bikes, and if the piles are large enough it could even be a visibility issue when people are backing out of their driveways. What a stupid, stupid idea.

@LJL: The photo DL used for this post was pulled from the interwebs. It isn’t a home in Sioux Falls, but if it were that person would be facing a fine for illegally dumping leaves in the street.

#11 pathloss on 12.05.13 at 10:38 am

Leaves would become free compost for city parks but then there’s no skim from the contractor who sells to the city. Reason like Huether and you’ll understand the services afforded citizens. The most recent con is sending out a fire inspector to businesses other than Lloyd. He gigs for wiring and insists you use a city approved electrician (the skim) for repairs.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 12.05.13 at 11:23 am

Craig, you are making an assumption again that people are ‘mad’ because the city isn’t cleaning up leaves. Not my point, don’t care. My concern is simple, not cleaning the leaves plugs the storm sewers. Anything in the street is the responsibility of the city, that is what we pay taxes for, street maintenance. What makes me ‘mad’ is that the city skirts it’s responsibility to provide services, like street sweeping, then turns around and spends my money on pickleball courts and film projectors.

#13 Poly43 on 12.05.13 at 12:16 pm

L3wis. You forgot $30,000 for something called an anycaster. $17,350 for ch. 16 audio equipment. $75,000 for an editing system. $70,500 for a ch. 16 generator. $50,000 for a ch. 16 shared storage solution. $50,000 for a ch.16 shared storage solution for hi def. $59,250 for ch.16 cameras. $20,000 for ch.16 studio lighting. $20,000 for a ch. 16 third set design.

All this, and still no SIRE that works? But plenty of the mayor indoctrination sessions.

#14 Taxpayer-Voter on 12.05.13 at 3:31 pm

Poly43 on 12.05.13 at 6:44 am

For most plow drivers, last nite was their first “real and live” experience with snowgates. ljl must have some insiders view on the topic. If they failed, it will be a failure by design.

I think there are plenty of city employees who operate snow plows, private contractors who do snow removal for the city, who want this to fail next April.

Wishful thinking on their part….what voter is going to turn down having the end of their driveway cleared out during every snow alert?!!

The City’s own data from two years of testing shows both the additional cost and the additional time needed are minimal. see

Public Works

Snow Gates Test Areas

During this winter, snow gates will be used in different areas of Sioux Falls for each snow event. The City of Sioux Falls presented its snow gate analysis to the City Council on 04/02/13. The presentation and previous reports are available below.

Snow Gate Analysis Presentation 04/02/13
2011-2012 Snow Gate Analysis
2010-2011 Snow Gate Analysis

#15 scott on 12.05.13 at 6:34 pm

I remember as a kid raking leaves into the street at my grandparents house and burning them. If we went back to that, problem solved!

#16 rufusx on 12.05.13 at 7:37 pm

Let’s get this straight – shall we – you ARE “the city”. Each and every property owner and resident. “The city” is NOT some foreign entity”. So yes, the streets, sidewalks, trees and so on are YOURS and the law (decided n by representatives YOU elected) describes and proscribes YOUR personal responsibilities in regard to YOUR property within said city of YOURS.

#17 Detroit Lewis on 12.05.13 at 10:54 pm

Ruf – You are exactly right. And that is why we pay taxes, so public employees can use the resources we pay for (equipment, energy, their wages) to take care of what is OURS. If we are supposed to just maintain these things with our personal money and labor, WTF pay taxes?

#18 Craig on 12.06.13 at 9:02 am

@DL – if you want city resources to pay for all the things you feel the city should be doing such as trimming the street trees, mowing the lawns in the boulevard, sweeping up and disposing of leaves, clearing sidewalks of snow etc. etc. do you have any idea how high your taxes would be?

It is MUCH more efficient for property owners to maintain the property in front of their homes. That isn’t even debatable. The costs to have employees come do those tasks would be significantly more and since we the taxpayers would need to foot the bill the end result would be MORE out of your pocket.

The truth is, by doing these things ourselves we save a significant amount, because when I mow my yard it costs me what… a few cents of gasoline and three minutes to mow the boulevard? What do you think this would cost to have a contractor handle the job?

Here is my recommendation – sell your house and go buy a condo or loft downtown so you’ll never have to clean another sidewalk, trim another tree, or rake another leaf. Not only will that eliminate most of your complaints about having to maintain “city owned property”, but you will be practicing what you preach surrounding multi-use high-density property use.

Or just continue the status quo and keep complaining about it. Your choice I suppose.

#19 Detroit Lewis on 12.06.13 at 9:24 am

“That isn’t even debatable.”

It’s very ‘debatable’. The city has always swept the streets, but once ‘special interest’ MMM rolled in, our taxes actually went up (user fees) and our services went away. But EC’s, pickleball courts, TIF’s like candy, etc. are abound. I think our taxes would probably be around 70% of what we pay now if we would just stop handing out crap to the special interests and just spent it on services and infrastructure. Sure, I can sweep the leaves in the street, but that isn’t the point. The point is clear, I PAY for those services already, and for some reason, they just kinda disappeared during MMM’s administration. The streets used to get plowed better and more often also before MMM. If we are so ‘flush’ in money, you wouldn’t know it by how our public services are being doled out.

#20 Detroit Lewis on 12.06.13 at 9:28 am

Also, had a good chuckle yesterday. 12th street between Cliff & 10th street (it curves past Drake Springs, the Skate Park and Mickey D’s) wasn’t plowed, at all, not even an initial pass, this was at about 3 PM. Yet EVERY street around them was plowed. The irony of it was the Skate Park parking lot was completely clean, you could have ate off it. Why? A lot of skate boarders yesterday? Nope, that is the favorite hangout of Public Works drivers and cops, and sure enough, a cop car was sitting in the lot. I wonder how many times city plows drove down that street and parked in that lot, yet not one single one of them decided to plow it. It was almost like they didn’t want anyone getting to their secret break place.

#21 rufusx on 12.06.13 at 11:45 am

DL – did the mayor send out a policy memo to direct them to act in that manner? Or was it a decision they made all on their own? How high up does this “break lot” conspiracy extend? Is NSA involved somehow?

#22 l3wis on 12.06.13 at 12:01 pm

Conspiracy? LOL! I am not the only one who has observed that lot as the SFPD’s unofficial breakroom.

#23 Craig on 12.06.13 at 1:30 pm

I’m convinced you see what you want to see DL. Every year we have people complaining about the snowplows even though they were out in full force doing their jobs just as they have been every other snowfall. They can’t be everywhere at once and sometimes I’m sure areas are overlooked as they focus on high traffic streets. I’m sure there are also times where they plow a “nice area of town” before a low income area – and sure enough people think there is some type of favortism going on without realizing how plows are zoned.

Every year we have people complain about the roads even though we know full well the current administration has increased spending on road maintenance. We could double the budget next year and those same people would probably still complain about the roads… and then complain about their taxes.

Now we have people complaining about a lack of street sweeping. Are those complaints based upon reality, or perception?

Do you have data to support your opinion that services have been slashed? Any evidence that the budget for snow removal or street sweeping has been drastically altered? I guess I just don’t see it – because I see snowplows and I saw street sweepers out all summer and this fall doing their jobs.

You know that whole glass half-full, glass half-empty thing? I get the distinct impression if someone gave you a glass filled to the 50% mark you would focus on the fact it has a scratch on the side and then complain that it didn’t come with any ice.

#24 l3wis on 12.06.13 at 3:59 pm

Actually, drove past the skateboard lot about 10 minutes ago, cop car sitting there. Maybe it is just perception, or a cardboard cutout, but there is a city vehicle there almost every time I drive by.

Like I said, don’t care about the street sweeping, but I do hear a lot of people complain about it, basically because it used to be done quite often, and now it is not. Like I said above, it is a service that is supposed to be provided to citizens thru our taxes, if not, why does the city own street sweepers? Might as well just sell them, what’s the point?

I would agree, the snowplow drivers do a good job, or should I say, a FAST job, there is a difference. I also think that the roads have been very nice over the last couple of years. But I don’t post about those things because that is what a city is supposed to do for their citizens, doing their job. It is also the job of the mayor to plan these things and the council to appropriate for them, they also, are doing their job. When I see them NOT doing their job, that is when I say something. There are plenty of award ceremonies and press conferences singing the praises of city employees and politicians ‘doing their jobs’ – I don’t need to be repetitive on this blog about those things. I just try to keep an eye them so they continue to do their jobs, if I don’t watch them, and you don’t comment about it, who will? KELO? The Argus? Funny.

#25 Winston on 12.06.13 at 11:43 pm

The street cleaners seemed to have disappeared after 2010…. And what else happen in 2010……?

Having lived in the same home for almost twenty years, I had grown to know the street cleaner schedule for my residence, prior to 2010 that is. I knew the months it would show-up and the particular week in that month that it would show-up as well.

Since 2010, however, I have seen the street cleaners once in person, and there no longer seems to be any rhyme or reason as to when or if they will be back…. But my leaves keep showing-up in a predictable fashion, however…..

#26 Testor15 on 12.07.13 at 10:38 am

It’s a matter of priorities set by management. We may have the same street ‘percentage’ budget but it is how it is used.
1. We used to have twice a year street cleaning, this year I have not see them once. The equipment always left a noticeable ‘cleanliness’.
2. We never saw the regular evidence of hydrant flushing this year.
3. How about the street being a main school route where the priority was always child / bus safety, no plow for almost 36 hours versus. When it was plowed the operators did their always great job.
4. The major east – west routes through Sioux Falls, 12th and 26th streets, were not scraped until after 12 pm. WTF, you couldn’t safely drive it . Where were the plows for the previous 12 to 18 hours?

DL, have you heard how fast and well S. Spencer Blvd was cleaned? Do you suppose the path was cleared to the bike trail restrooms?

#27 LJL on 12.07.13 at 10:58 am

So, the snow had drifted in about 12 inches deep in my neighborhood. My snow plow windrow was 14 inches deep and 38 inches wide. My driveway is 45 feet wide.

Just where do you think all that snow will go when they try to use a snowgate? After about 3 snowfalls our street will be 1 1/2 car width with 4 feet of snow on either side.

So the city will simply lift the gate I will no longer get the liftgate service. You will say boo hoo fuck you south side rich guy and I will say I’m paying more taxes than you.

So how about we all put on our big boy pants and take care of our own property. Generations of folks have been shoveling their driveway and taking care of there propety, WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL?

Get off your fluffy ass out of bed a little earlier in the morning, slide on 2 pair of thick socks under your Nikes and try to contribute to the good of the community rather than attempt to suck from it.

Rake my leaves, trim my trees, fix my pothole faster, keep the online access to city hall flawless, shovel my right of way, replace my sidewalks, give me free healthcare, make sure I have a job, give me a place to hang my art, so on and so on….Oh and make sure my taxes are low. Reality check liberal, all of this is not possible without more of your money.

How far you have fallen from this moment.

#28 Detroit Lewis on 12.07.13 at 11:07 am

You rich folks make me laugh, not because you are ignorant, just heartless.

#29 Anonymous on 12.07.13 at 11:56 am

I wonder if LJL is as nasty in person as he/she is on this blog!!??

#30 Detroit Lewis on 12.07.13 at 11:59 am

Not sure, but I bet they have one of those bumper stickers about making liberals mad when people work. Saw it on a Hummer once in SF, or was it an Escalade. I get confused.

#31 rufusx on 12.07.13 at 12:49 pm

Hey DL – I agree with LJL re: your attitude lately(amazing isn’t it?) And guess what – I’m a poor “liberal”, while he’s a rich “conservative”. Maybe your issues don’t have so much to do with broader political positions after all – you think?

#32 Winston on 12.07.13 at 2:34 pm

LJL, “It takes a village…” Like it or not, regardless of our wealth, we are all interdependent. A City, which uses TIFs not to remove blight rather to redevelop property, is a City which can afford street cleaners.

I would like to think that I will still be living at my home when I am in my 80s, and I would like to think, when I am in my 80s, that the City will be picking-up my leaves in the street in front of my home. So that I don’t injure myself as an old man some day picking-up wet trampled leaves which could cause me to end up in a nursing home before my time and not only on Medicare, but also Medicaid as well because of such chores…. You see, government programs can actually help to prevent dependency upon other government programs down the road with a cost benefit analysis to prove it….

#33 Neighbor on 12.07.13 at 2:58 pm

Prior to Huether being elected in 2010, the streets were swept four times a year.

They also tried a cheaper de-icing substance on the streets. When it didn’t work, they reversed themselves on this issue.

Maybe, it’s time to reconsider going back to the previous street sweeping schedule. I hear many SF residents complaining about this.

#34 Winston on 12.07.13 at 4:57 pm

Neighbor, AMEN!

#35 LJL on 12.07.13 at 8:10 pm

Bravo Wilson for growing old. So once again I ask what makes you so special? Did the leaves and snow magically disappear for the elderly in the past? When I grow old won’t I have to take the same measures to maintain my property as you? My grandfather pitched a tractor full of cow shit each week and I know he didn’t bitch about it being someone else s problem.

Yep my family is real heartless. We volunteer 100+ hours a year and a couple thousand to charities. We help folks who can’t help themselves due to sickness, mental illness and those who just plain fell onto bad luck. Most recently froze our ass off raking leaves for the elderly in a program called “rake the town”. Rich I’m not, its your crowd who has branded me this due to the side a town I live, and I’m sure to hear it again when we point out that we are paying for the gates and not getting the service.

You’ve read me bitching about handing out money for TIFS and tennis, why would I turn a blind eye to YOUR wasteful spending pet projects.

It’s folks like you who have no reason for laziness that gets no sympathy from me.

Now get out there and shovel your own damn snow. And if you have an elderly neighbor who can’t, take turns with others shoveling theirs. That’s how it works in my side of this “community”.

From your own NY Times written by a liberal.

#36 LJL on 12.07.13 at 8:18 pm

Oh and by the way Winston.
“People are going to be less dependent on Medicare/Cade in the future”…………BAHAHAHHAAAA

That’s a really good joke man .

#37 anominous on 12.07.13 at 10:56 pm

45 foot wide driveway? Do you live in a car wash?

#38 Winston on 12.07.13 at 11:46 pm


“Bravo Wilson for growing old. So once again I ask what makes you so special? Did the leaves and snow magically disappear for the elderly in the past? When I grow old won’t I have to take the same measures to maintain my property as you? My grandfather pitched a tractor full of cow shit each week and I know he didn’t bitch about it being someone else s problem.”



“Yep my family is real heartless. We volunteer 100+ hours a year and a couple thousand to charities. We help folks who can’t help themselves due to sickness, mental illness and those who just plain fell onto bad luck. Most recently froze our ass off raking leaves for the elderly in a program called “rake the town”. Rich I’m not, its your crowd who has branded me this due to the side a town I live, and I’m sure to hear it again when we point out that we are paying for the gates and not getting the service.”


“You’ve read me bitching about handing out money for TIFS and tennis, why would I turn a blind eye to YOUR wasteful spending pet projects.”


“It’s folks like you who have no reason for laziness that gets no sympathy from me.”


“Now get out there and shovel your own damn snow. And if you have an elderly neighbor who can’t, take turns with others shoveling theirs. That’s how it works in my side of this ‘community’.”


From your own NY Times written by a liberal.


“Oh and by the way Winston.
‘People are going to be less dependent on Medicare/Cade in the future’…………BAHAHAHHAAAA”

“That’s a really good joke man .”



#39 Detroit Lewis on 12.08.13 at 11:08 am

I remember what former Mayor Hanson said to Stehly when signing her snowgates petition, “I’ll sign it. My neighbor died of a heart attack after scooping that berm of ice and snow out of the end of his driveway.(sic)”

Winston has a great point.

#40 Testor15 on 12.08.13 at 1:48 pm

Street cleaners were always sold as a way to prevent storm sewer issues. The dirt, sand, rocks, leaves and litter needed to be systematically picked up to prevent more expensive damages.

Now to pay for the EC and spray parks we have to risk flooding homes, streets and businesses. Nice plan…

#41 Winston on 12.08.13 at 6:20 pm

I think I am going to check the KELOLAND.COM Automall to see if I can buy these two vehicles. It sounds like I am going to need them:

#42 Craig on 12.09.13 at 9:45 am

@DL – that is exactly why I support snowgates… it is a safety and health issue.

I bought my home from a woman in her 80s and the primary reason she sold is because she had slipped and knocked herself out while shoveling snow. When she awoke, she was covered in 1/2″ of white powder and because I live on a quiet cul-de-sac there wasn’t any traffic to pass by and notice her. Her kids decided that it wsa time for her to move into a place where the lawncare and snow removal was taken care of, so the house was put on the market. Her experience could have ended much worse – and I can’t help but think how many injuries, heart attacks, or deaths occur from that one silly tradition of removing the ridge of snow that was placed at the end of the driveway by the passing snowplows.

Yes in a perfect world neighbors would help out, but let’s be honest… this isn’t a perfect world. Most people don’t even know their neighbors and aside from a friendly wave when they drive by they never speak. I don’t even know the names of half of my neighbors and because most of them are one or two generations ahead of me I doubt I’ll ever be on a first name basis with them. That’s life.

There is also the safety issue here – as I can’t help but think there are times when someone needs to make an emergency trip to the ER yet they can’t back out of their own driveway because of the solid ridge of packed snow and ice. This is why I support snowgates – not because it saves me time. If I wanted to save time, I wouldn’t be snowblowing the sidewalks of my neighbors who don’t have snowblowers, and I wouldn’t be the one cleaning in front of the mailboxes when others ignore them. It is about thinking of others rather than myself. Novel concept.

However this is why I’m the opposite when it comes to leaf disposal. It isn’t a safety or health issue and I’ve never heard of someone who couldn’t back out of the driveway due to a pile of leaves blocking their path.

As I said before, leaves are a cosmetic issue. For many homeowners if they simply mowed the lawn in the fall and left the remainder, they wouldn’t even see them in the spring as they would decompose and mix into the landscaping. I won’t fault anyone for wanting to clean up their yard – I do it too – but I know full well if I didn’t care about how my place looked they woudln’t hurt anything.

Now as far as street sweepers, I again have to ask… does anyone have any real evidence that they have cut back and don’t clean the streets anymore? Personal anecdotes are nice but they don’t really equal evidence. Perhaps they just adjusted the schedule to ensure they cover the entire city on a more equal basis rather than just certain specific areas and they don’t come by on the exact same week at the exact same time anymore. I know they came by my place at least twice if not three times this summer – because I always have to sweep the end of the driveway to clear off the gravel that is swept up onto it, and I know I did that several times.

So am I special for some reason? I doubt it… I don’t live in a gated community, I don’t live next to any high ranking city officials, and I don’t live in a $500,000 home… so I’m guessing that is just how things work. Maybe they have cut back in some areas, maybe they were focused upon tree removal and disposal more this year so the street sweeping suffered. Maybe I just don’t have a clue and therefore it isn’t fair to make assumptions, but I can’t complain considering the results coupled with my lack of knowledge surrounding any changes that may have taken place.

Moral of the story – I’m not going to look for reasons to complain before I have all the facts.

#43 l3wis on 12.09.13 at 10:13 am

Winston, is that a snowplow Yugo? LOL!

#44 Winston on 12.09.13 at 11:17 am

l3wis, I think so! (Maybe a Chervolet Chevette?) Oh, how we long for the Tito regime…. (…jk…. any conservative comrades out there….)

#45 Detroit Lewis on 12.10.13 at 11:05 am

Wonder if the AL came up with this story, or if Public Works pimped the AL to do it;

They admit they haven’t been doing it;

“City crews started cleaning two weeks earlier than last fall, but they got to less than a third of the streets. Ice storm cleanup kept them busy trimming trees and clearing out drainages until about Thanksgiving.”

I thought the city hired ‘private contractors’ to clean up after the ice storm. You know, like the one that changes Christmas light bulbs on Phillips Ave.

And Galynn started crying; “I cannot sweep 74 square miles of city after leaves have dropped off,” Huber said.”

Why not? We seem to have all kinds of crews to fill potholes and work on about every major arterial road in this town.

“Leaves that remain in the gutter and get covered by snow can clog drains during spring melt.”

Can’t wait to see the flooding we have this Spring when the snow starts melting with Spring rains. Maybe then Galynn can ‘rethink’ his 74 square mile goal.

#46 Winston on 12.10.13 at 11:54 am

I question if the City still has the same number of street cleaners which they use to have. If not, that is why they failed in their mission…. And then the question becomes, what happen to the older cleaners and why were they not replaced at a parity level?

I am really upset about this issue (I know there are bigger issues, and there are….), because this is one of the things that a city should be doing. Government is suppose to serve the people and the government is suppose to be the people, and if we can build a new EC then we can keep the street cleaners running!

I worked in retail for many years and struck-up many conversations over the years, as a result of my profession, with many out-of-towners who were always impressed with how clean this town was. Keeping Sioux Falls clean is an economic development issue which our City fathers and mothers are beginning to overlook, and it is time they got it and recovered from this mistaken policy decision.

#47 Detroit Lewis on 12.10.13 at 12:24 pm

Wait until storm drains start plugging up, they will certainly rethink their decision to not keep up with the cleaning. I agree with Katrina in the story, people should take it upon themselves to NOT rake into the street, but their is only so much an individual homeowner can do, and the street sweepers are a final assistance to the leave issue.

#48 Detroit Lewis on 12.10.13 at 12:24 pm


#49 Winston on 12.10.13 at 2:54 pm

But if you have trees on your boulevard and they are mature in a mature neighborhood, there are enough leaves already in the street to justify a thorough cleaning…. And unless the City wants to establish a new policy of no trees along the boulevards, there are invariably going to be leaves on the streets and the City should be picking them up like they did for decades.

I also believe a policy decision was made in recent years, and some I am sure can answer this question better than me, but I am not so confidant that the City has the fleet to get this done any more(?) The few street cleaners I have seen on the streets in recent years seem to be newer but smaller than the older ones. I suspect that Sioux Falls is no longer a “two ocean navy” when it comes to street cleaning capacity and that is why the City did not get the job done this Fall…. And who ever made this policy change as some questions to answer, I believe.

#50 Winston on 12.10.13 at 2:55 pm


#51 Snoplow on 12.12.13 at 6:03 pm

After reading all of your posts I thought I may be able to answer some of your questions. Has the size of our fleet shrunk? No our fleet cannot grow or shrink, we still have the same amount of sweepers that we’ve always had Flushers as well. So what happened? Ice storm in the spring, wasint that contracted out? Sure was, the part where the trees were picked up from residents homes…. until the contractors slowed down then we had to go back out and resume pickup due to overwhelming complaints. Another reason it didn’t get done was the overlay projects were behind to a point where they finished paving streets right before the snow came, this is usually completed early September, this year the contractor who bid the concrete fell behind and was eventually fired but not before putting the CIP projects 2 months behind. Not public works fault as we don’t oversee contractors that is a different department. most of our temporary help (ie truck drivers) went back to school in August and most of the others ran out of hours ( overtime from ice storm) apparently it is difficult to hire new people in the fall, they post ads and don’t get many applicants, so being short on people most of our crews were subsequently shut down and sent to haul asphalt, sweeping was affected as were all other crews either by going to skeleton crews or being shut down altogether. Why do this you ask? To save the city from a lawsuit. When the streets are measured for overlay the tonnage for every street is figured up and totaled this is how we get bids for asphalt, somehow and you would have to ask someone further up the ladder than me, locks us into how much asphalt we purchase we are under contract to use X amount of tons if we don’t the city is still liable for the contract amount. Shutting down in September would have left us thousands of tons short of our contract. Is it an excuse? no but it is factual. We need more people to call and complain in the fall about street sweeping, it seems that is how the powers that be decide how important certain projects are, so don’t complain to each other complain to the City, because sweeping in the fall needs to be done and not overlooked.

#52 Detroit Lewis on 12.12.13 at 11:38 pm

snoplow, thank you for weighing in, I appreciate it.

I have a feeling that Cotter received more then ‘just a few’ calls about this.

As you point out, it comes down to ‘priorities’ and I totally understand. I have known MANY public works, engineering, PO’s, FF’s, and pencil pushers with that city that have told me mind boggling stories about how the city ‘does things’. Sometimes I would walk away from convos with the former city clerk and want to walk straight into a brick wall, because that would make more sense. My favorite story was one from a city employee who told me about the parking study of DT before the EC location was picked. That was a gem.

I want you to know, that I don’t hold anything against the common city employee, following orders, totally understand. Why else would someone scrape goose crap from the bike trail?

What I do want to know is why no one questions authority anymore?

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