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Citizens For Snow Gates Speak Out

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Residents in Sioux Falls won't be seeing snow gates citywide this year or next year.

On Tuesday night, the City Council shut down a measure to include snow gates in a special election. The group, "Citizens for Snow Gates", worked hard to get petitions hoping to have the election approved and they're not too happy with the council's vote.

"We got scrooged," said Theresa Stehly leader of "Citizens for Snow Gates".

Stehly told the city council, they could be Santa or Scrooge this holiday.

"To give the citizens a gift, a gift of a responsive, responsible, respectable gesture of saying yes, to this vote," said Stehly.

They wanted to vote in the spring, but in the end the council cast their vote 5-to-3, to postpone the snow gates ballot until the municipal election in April of 2014.

The gates are designed to keep driveways clear of snow left behind by the plows.

Councilman Jim Entenman said he's not against an election for the snow gates and actually looks forward to it, but stressed the council needs more information.

"Waiting for an additional 10 or 11 months getting the information we know so our citizens can make an informed decision, that's what we're going to do," said Entenman.

Some of that information includes how many snow gates the city would need and, of course, the cost.

2014 might seem far away for some, but planning for that the budget is just around the corner.

"We're going to plan it into the budget for 2014 to make sure that we've got the funds to implement the snow gates if it does pass at that general election,” said Entenman.

"They may say we're not going to do it, we can't afford it, even though we are spending money at all sorts of other special interest projects," said Stehly.

With a year-and-a-half away until people can vote on snow gates, Stehly said she believes her group has done a great job of spreading the message across the city.

"We have raised the awareness of snow gates in our community through the roof. And they will never be able to dismiss this for the citizens," said Stehly.

City Council members will be working on the 2014 budget in just a few weeks, each snow gate costs around $5,600 plus operational costs.
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