MOLINE, Ill — Moline residents could see their neighborhood streets get cleared of snow and ice faster this winter season. At least that's what Moline Public Works hopes.
In October, the city began the process of hiring six new people to help operate snowplows and other winter-weather equipment. According to Municipal Services General Manager Rodd Schick, three have already been hired and are starting on Dec. 20.
"The primary purpose is to enhance our snow removal services that we provide, to provide better response," Schick said. "It just takes bodies to get to be out there to be on the streets in a more efficient and quick manner to address snow before it gets packed down. And so there's no other way to do that, than to really just increase that level."
He's hoping it'll mean a more efficient response when it comes to residential neighborhoods.
"We're able to address our main routes or hill routes, those major routes, those aren't the issues," he said. "This is about the residential areas, and the problem is by getting into them later, people have come and gone so many times that snow gets packed down, and in some instances pretty much turns to ice, which is then virtually impossible to get off of the streets without some sort of extra serious effort."
Schick added that he's thankful the weather has stayed warmer and there's no snow piling up yet, because the new employees still need to be trained.
"I need this weather to hold off a little bit longer, so I can really give these new employees the opportunities to be successful in their jobs as they transition," Schick said. "We need to get them trained, we need to get them out and get them assigned to routes, get them familiar with the equipment things that they're going to be using.
These new employees aren't just here for the winter season though. The new positions are full-time, year-round positions that the city budgeted for. Schick said these are much needed additions too.
"That's that many more people that we can have out working on potholes, mowing parks, fixing things that are out there, there's just so many things that need that attention," Schick said. "We have more work than we have staff even with the additional six people."
Moline Public Works will also be contracting with Miller Trucking and Excavating again this winter season.
"This would be a good direct comparison. What did the six additional bodies do for us? What did the contractual snow removal services do for us?" Schick said. "We'll have to do a full analysis of that."
There is also a possibility the city could hire six more Public Works employees in the following year. Looking at the comparison of this year with more workers would help inform that decision, Schick said.
"Going from six, jumping up to 12, that's a significant increase," he said. "We really have to be mindful of that and show that we have the need for that."
Moline Public Works is still in the process of hiring three more people as part of the new six.