Around November 1 of every year, ever since I’ve lived in my house in the early ’90s, the guy who somehow inherited the job of “block captain” on our block drops an envelope in everyone’s door with a flyer asking for $20 to cover snow plowing.
It’s the biggest bargain – one of the few bargains left – in Saint Paul; he gives it to a plow driver. The driver lives on the block – so he literally needs to plow our driveway to get to work anyway.
So anytime there’s more than a dusting of snow, our alley is plowed to a fine sheen. And since side streets in my neighborhood are only plowed by the sun in April, the fact that our guy blasts out the street on the east side of the block to get to Minnehaha (a city snow emergency route) is almost literally a lifesaver.
Of course, it’s something that works – which, in a one-party kleptocracy like Saint Paul, means someone’s gotta try to appropriate it.
The same Merriam Park harpies that jammed down the smoking ban (years before the rest of the state) and, most recently, Tony-Soprano-style trash hauling, have been nattering away about socializing alley plowing for the past fifteen years.
It’s flying about as well as…well, the trash system:
Consultants from the University of Minnesota found little public appetite for the level of services the city likely would be able to offer.
Most residents who contract private alley plowers said they were unwilling to pay more than $15 per season for the city to complete the same service, and they expressed concern that the city might actually provide less snow removal and only plow after snow emergencies.
“Respondents will expect the city to plow the alleys after each snowfall or after a 2-inch snowfall, alleys to be plowed at the same time as main streets or at the same time as residential streets,” states a study summary. “Residents will be willing to pay an amount that would not be more than the amount they are currently paying, or less than $15 per season.”
Of course, the fact that real people who live in Saint Paul don’t want it is no defense; the little pack of “woke” Merriam Park biddies who burned countless hours of their worthless labor banning smoking in bars they never went to, and jamming down a trash collection system nobody wants – have sent their little hive minds on it.
For St. Paul to remove alley snow, consultants estimated $3.1 million in one-time start-up costs, such as new plow trucks, and $4.8 million in ongoing annual costs for labor, maintenance, training and recruitment.
That’s a total cost of $7.9 million in year one alone — or more than $100 for each of the city’s 74,000 households. Adding in business storefronts would reduce the cost.
Except to the businesses. Those few that are left, anyway. And that cost will be passed on to consumers – again, the few that are left.
But it’ll happen. Mark my words.