Moffat County to cut snow plowing for senior citizens
November 23, 2016
Craig — Moffat County commissioners unanimously decided at their Wednesday meeting not to accept new applications from seniors seeking help with snow plowing and recommended that all senior snow plowing be discontinued next winter.
"This will give everyone a year to figure out how to come-up with an alternative," said Commissioner Chuck Grobe.
The commission is "needing to cut $14 million out of the county budget over the next 5 years," stated Commissioner John Kinkaid in a follow-up email.
Last winter, the senior snow plow service cost the county $12,659 for the 2015-16 snow season, according to county figures.
"This is one of hundreds of hard decisions. Looking at the budget, the devaluation in our natural resources and property values has created an extreme budget crunch. We have to face the fact that our income is not what it was," said Commissioner Frank Moe.
The commissioners admitted that decision was difficult.
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"I wish we didn't have to do it, but it is something that makes sense. I agree that granting new applications this year would be unwise," Kinkaid said.
Director of Moffat County Road and Bridge Dan Miller presented nine new applications from seniors seeking county help with winter maintenance. Instead, Kinkaid made a motion "that we do not approve any new senior snow plowing applications for the 2016-17 this winter."
The motion was passed unanimously and the new applications were not reviewed.
The county will continue the senior snow plow service for 41 applications already approved for the 2016-17-winter snow season.
However, the commissioners also recommended that future commissions consider ending the program next winter, before the 2017-18-snow season.
"At first it shocked me that we would do that to the seniors, but as a community, working over a year, we can, perhaps come-up with something," said city resident Ken Wergin who was in the audience.
Moe pledged to find public-private solutions to ensure the most vulnerable seniors would continue to receive the help they need without county spending.
"It's very emotional, as we know we are going to be dealing with people who have handicaps and special needs. The county might not be able to help with services, but we need to reach out to the community to create ways to help," Moe said.
While not certain of the specifics, Moe said a program initiated by the BOSS Snowplow company might provide a model or resources going forward.
According to the BOSS Snowplow website, "for families of deployed military personnel and wounded or disabled veterans, clearing driveways and sidewalks can be a real challenge. To meet that challenge, BOSS Snowplow and Project EverGreen established the SnowCare for troops program to provide complimentary snow and ice removal services to these deserving individuals."