Snow & Ice Operations

During snow and ice control operations, routine operations of the Public Works and Police Departments are of secondary importance. The Director of Public Works, through his/her designee, has overall responsibility for snow and ice control operations. The Public Works Director, or in his/her absence, other supervisory staff personnel, shall be responsible to monitor weather conditions, determine the appropriate number and type of equipment necessary, and dispatch crew members in a timely manner to perform activities as required.

Each storm event may dictate a different response to facilitate vehicle travel.

Snow Accumulation of 1 to 2 Inches

Sand trucks will be dispatched to begin spreading sand/salt mixture on Snow Emergency Route streets. These streets will continue to be monitored until the snow event has ended and/or streets are sufficiently sanded. In the event of continued snowfall, the operation will include the addition of plowing. This type of activity would continue until the snowfall has ceased and/or until approximately 9 p.m. If necessary, the activity would resume at approximately 2 a.m. the next day and continue until streets are maintained to the level as defined in this policy.

Snow Accumulation of 2 to 5 Inches

Beginning at approximately 2 a.m., dependent on the time that the actual snowfall stops, crews will be dispatched to completely plow city streets. Plowing operations will continue until all streets have been plowed and sanded to facilitate vehicular travel. Operations would normally be completed within 10 hours of the start time.

Snow Accumulation of 6 Inches or Greater

In this instance (in one snow event or successive snow events) or in anticipation of it, the Public Works Director, Chief Law Enforcement Official, or their designees, will declare a snow emergency which begins at midnight. To assure that the community is informed of the snow emergency, typically, an announcement will be made on the local media (radio station, TV Cable Channel 6, or if newspaper deadline can be met, in the news briefs) by 6 p.m. on the day preceding the snow emergency. The emergency exists because of snow or other winter related conditions creating a hazardous road condition or impedes the movement of fire, health, police, emergency or other vehicular traffic. The goal of the announcement is to clear vehicles from streets to allow the safe and effective removal of snow or ice.

View more information regarding snow emergencies.

Snow & Ice Control Policy

This policy has been in place since 1997. City staff reviews the policy periodically and updates as necessary to reflect current procedures and materials used. The most recent changes were approved by Council at the meeting of the City Council on January 28, 2013.


Most of the changes were in the wording such as changing the term “sanding” to “treated salt,” and “sanding trucks” to “plow trucks,” as sand is rarely used in our efforts to keep the streets clear. We also now use a product called Ice Bite 55 instead of Geomelt. This is the same product used in the past, just being supplied by a different vendor. The previous policy stated that in a 1 to 2 inch snowfall, sanding would take place first, which has now been changed to say that plowing will be done first.

Equipment & Crews

Another minor change was to the equipment and staff needed for a single snow removal event. This was updated to show the reduction of 1 full-time employee and one pickup, which were the results of budget cuts within the past few years, and changes in equipment used at the Airport. The Policy also reflects the addition of the use of the Sentence to Service (STS) and Institution Community Work Crews (ICWC) crews for the removal of snow from sidewalks.