Snow removal companies help residents dig out
When winter blankets the Lake Tahoe Basin, area businesses and homeowners must turn to private snow removal companies to dig them out.
While the California Department of Transportation and the City of South Lake Tahoe Snow Removal keep the roads clear, it is not their responsibility to clear private property. Private snow removers enter into contracts with private citizens to do the job. Snow removers must be vigilant about weather conditions, and respond accordingly when a stormy front moves through.
“What the usual process is, is I go to bed late and check the weather at 11:30 p.m. and I reset the alarm if it looks like it is going to be enough snow,” said Kary Myers of Myers Snow Removal. “(The removal workers) go to bed early and I stay up because I am the night owl. The night before they usually have the equipment fueled up and ready to go.”
Snow removal workers are often required to work well before sunrise to avoid having to clear snow during the traffic rush of business hours.
“(The removal workers) are usually out (removing snow) by 1 a.m. in the morning,” Myers said. “If it is a light storm, they are out by 3:30 a.m. We have five commercial contracts and about 30 driveways to clear.”
The front that moved through Thursday night had snow removers out in force, though the storm failed to produce as much precipitation as expected.
“We go whenever there is approximately three inches, or if it is smaller we wait until morning,” said Ron Popeney. “(Thursday’s) was a real weak storm. Some clients get mad if we plow this small of a storm because they have to pay the bill, but some get mad if we don’t plow it too.”
Snow removal contracts are usually settled before a snow season, and then the removal companies charge for removal per storm.
“These are contracts and whenever it snows three or four inches we can go out and plow with no go-ahead,” Popeney said. “We have very few problems with the people we work for. They are happy to have us there.”
Raley’s Manager at the Crescent V, Mike Pate says that getting the snow clear around area shopping centers is vital to the smooth running of a business.
“You could imagine if we did not have snow removal,” Pate said. “You could not get out. It is very important to our customers and our customers are important to us and that is why we do it.”
For the Crescent V, private snow removal is so important it is looked at as an expected service.
“I’ve been in the business for 23 years and I have never seen our lot not get plowed or whatever,” Pate said. “Our parking lot is clear by 7 a.m. if we have a snow the night before. They have it clear with the snow at the end of the lot and they are cleaning up. They are definitely to be commended.”
Tahoe local, Susan Osborne, feels that snow removal around private businesses is crucial and she is pleased that the service is provided.
“(A snowy parking lot) is definitely an inconvenience, but the main issue is safety,” Osborne said. “I don’t take snow removal for granted. It is too bad that we would live in a society that would sue for something like that but I guess the main thing it to keep people from falling down and getting hurt. And (snow removers) do a good job of that.”
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