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County looks to drop plow curfew

BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – It’s a 15-year-old ordinance that only allows county plows to operate between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. With all the winter weather we’ve seen the last few days, county leaders say its time to reconsider.

County engineer Cathy Nicholas hopes to change an ordinance that gives county plows a curfew. Having started her employment with the county after it was written, Nicholas doesn’t know why the law was written.
She suggests looking forward by hiring either a seasonal plow driver or one that would be on -call to deal with issues after hours as the road department staff already works full-time.

“If we have numerous days in a row of snow events its very difficult for us to send people out at night, after those hours, and still have them be safe, they’ve already worked 12-13 hours a day,” said Nicholas.

Nicholas also pointed out that many freight routes operate all night.

“John Deere, Tyson, they run round the clock. They have employees coming and going at all hours of the day and night. And they probably didn’t to that extent back in 2003,” said recently elected county supervisor Dan Trelka.

Trelka and Nicholas are part of the committee tasked with exploring the change and how to pay for it.

“We have to be good stewards of that tax dollar,” said Trelka.

Nicholas agrees, saying that the county’s equipment must evolve with the times.

“I think that’s what taxpayers expect us to do. Improvements in technology take place in every industry, they certainly take place in road maintenance. We need to be responsible to the taxpayers of black hawk county,” said Nicholas.

This change won’t likely be put into effect until next winter.
Nicholas says they’ll be looking at their upcoming budget to see how they’ll shuffle funds to possibly pay for that extra driver.

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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