On Wednesday morning, I drove into the country northeast of Thomasboro. The drive took twice as long as usual, mostly due to Urbana's snow-packed and treacherous streets. The roads in the country, however, were clear enough to drive 40 mph safely. Apparently our highway commissioners take their jobs seriously.
I've been told that city snowplow drivers are instructed to keep the blade off the road to cut down on replacements. The plow thereby leaves a couple of inches of snow that can compact and form ice.
Our cities generally wait until a storm is over before beginning to plow. This policy makes driving conditions extremely hazardous during a storm and allows snow to compact for a longer period. Once compacted, it's difficult to remove.
Snow removal is a basic government function. Without safe driving conditions, citizens risk life and limb in carrying out their normal daily activities. Yet our city governments continue to direct funding to less important functions.
As an example, on Jan. 3, this paper reported that Democratic Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing spent $51,660 in September and November on legal fees related to Republican Liz Walden's wrongful-dismissal lawsuit.
Walden's termination as accounting supervisor drew significant criticism and prompted the city's former comptroller to resign in protest.
Urbana Alderwoman Diane Marlin is quoted as saying the lawsuit was totally unnecessary. Yet the legal fees keep growing.
These monies should have been spent on snow removal or other basic government functions rather than on a politically motivated purge.
chair, Champaign County Libertarian Party