January 6, 2016

The City of Madison puts out a call to citizens to clear snow from storm sewer inlets in advance of the coming rain.

"City crews will begin working on clearing inlets. However, there are so many storm sewer inlets in the city staff will not be able to get them all before the expected rainfall. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated."

So get your shovel and get out there like a good citizen.

49 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Why should we expect basic city services to be done?

traditionalguy said...

Mighty Meade to the rescue!

campy said...

AS long as I'm compensated at union scale, including benefits.

Shawn Levasseur said...

The Wisconsin Snow Militia has been called.

Rick67 said...

Interesting. When Hurricane Gustav hit Baton Rouge several years ago, I noticed how much water along sides of roads was *not* draining... so I went down the street with a rake and tried to move leaves, branches, debris out of the way and it helped. Most people aren't aware of how storm water drainage works. (One of my sisters is a civil engineer who specializes in that.)

Curious George said...

The water will clear the snow in the inlets all by itself. It's going to be a light rain...no one has to do anything.

Tank said...

MadisonMan said...

Why should we expect basic city services to be done?


Why not get out your shovel and help? If your neighbor down the street asked, you would say, "let me get my coat and shovel." I hope you would. If you demand more from the city, you will more "bill" for services.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


campy said...

AS long as I'm compensated at union scale, including benefits.

That was my first, cynical, reaction. However, if a clogged storm drain would lead to flooding of my driveway, basement, etc, then I'd be sure to clear it out. And I'd rather the city warned me in advance, rather than just waiting for the complaints after the flooding.

I might still be pissed that the city was not taking care of its responsibilities in a timely manner, but I'd be much more pissed if I had no warning.

damikesc said...

Why should we expect basic city services to be done?

Indeed. Can't imagine that your taxes are so low to explain why the city cannot handle its own business.

Why not get out your shovel and help? If your neighbor down the street asked, you would say, "let me get my coat and shovel." I hope you would. If you demand more from the city, you will more "bill" for services.

Helping a neighbor is fine. Doing it for the city that cannot do its own basic work is insanity. If a city cannot handle its basic infrastructure, then they should relieve tax burdens since the people have to do it for them.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The question is this something that the city should be able to provide, given their current budget?

If yes, then where are they, inappropriately, spending money?
If no, then get out and help.

MadisonMan said...

@Tank, the neighbor down the street isn't taxing me to maintain roads, etc. I will willingly do what any neighbor asks me to do. Sometimes I volunteer without asking if the need is known. When we had old neighbors, who do you think shoveled their walk? I did.

But how is 'Expecting Storm Drains to be Clear' really expecting more from the City! Your bar is set way too low!!

There was an article in the paper Monday about city departments scrambling to maintain "services" while the City/County building is being rehabbed. My honest thought was "Close them for a week -- furlough the employees -- and will anyone really notice except the City Employees? I doubt it".

Just Mike said...

Let's not turn a Schneesturm turn into a shitstorm, people

Smilin' Jack said...

Why should we expect basic city services to be done?

They are. I'm sure the city's diversity training programs have not been impacted.

Curious George said...

By the way, this is the city that fines you if you don't get your walk shoveled in a timely manner:

Snow Removal Regulations

Public Sidewalks

To make public sidewalks safe for pedestrians, the owner or occupant of property immediately adjacent to a public sidewalk is responsible for the removal of any snow or ice that accumulates on the sidewalk. Residents are required to clear snow from their sidewalk by noon of the day after the snow stopped. And remember, snow plows might create a blockage even after your drive has been cleaned.

In the event that removal of ice is impossible, the property owner or occupant is required to use sand, salt or other suitable substance to prevent the ice from being dangerous. This should be done by noon of the day after the snow/ice stopped.

How much of my sidewalk do I have to clear?

The Ordinance requires the property owner to clear the entire width of the sidewalk, from edge to edge.

What the ordinance says: M.G.O. 10.28
You are as responsible for clearing ice on your sidewalk as clearing snow.

Ice can be more dangerous and intimidating than snow.

The sooner and more completely you shovel, the less likely ice will form
Make arrangements for someone to take over while you are on vacation.
If the sidewalk has not been cleared by the required time, the property owner will be issued a citation with a fine.
Crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. Property owners will be billed for this service, and unpaid bills will be added to the owner's property tax.

Hagar said...

A series of light rains in the fall can result in towers of leaves glued together by silt, tire rubber, oil and grease, etc., can build up in the inlets and eventually topple over and more or less plug the outlets.
Cleaning out these takes men, equipment, and time. If MM wants it routinely done all over Madison, he must not complain about the city's tax rates.

mrs.e said...

We have 2 drains on our corner that we clear all the time. We also shovel out the hydrant and snow-blow to the next driveway. It's not hard to be a good neighbor.

holdfast said...

If average citizens are willing to pitch in with tasks like this - tasks which should take no more than 5 minutes - then maybe the city could save a lot of taxpayer money by NOT having to pay wages and benefits to municipal "workers" to perform such simple tasks. Plus, think of all the carbon not emitted by city vehicles.

My town does not have curb-side garbage pickup (except for the Section 8 Housing, naturally) - you can hire a private service (and choose bi-weekly, weekly or semi-weekly pickup) or just take it to the transfer station yourself. The savings in payroll, and more importantly retirement benefits, is massive.

mccullough said...

maybe soon Madison will encourage its citizenry to buy firearms and carry them on neighborhood patrols. This will be he future of public safety as states and cities are in debt.

MadisonMan said...

By the way, this is the city that fines you if you don't get your walk shoveled in a timely manner

Are there (northern) cities that don't do that?

damikesc said...

If average citizens are willing to pitch in with tasks like this - tasks which should take no more than 5 minutes - then maybe the city could save a lot of taxpayer money by NOT having to pay wages and benefits to municipal "workers" to perform such simple tasks. Plus, think of all the carbon not emitted by city vehicles.

It's Madison. Do you think they will cut expenses if citizens do that? Hell no.

I live in a low tax area and we're expected to handle a lot of things ourselves. One of the major issues with the flooding is that communities normally handle the small dams they have but when the floods hit hard, it overwhelmed all of them, causing huge problems.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
Why should we expect basic city services to be done?


Because you pay taxes? Just a guess.

MadisonMan said...

It's Madison. Do you think they will cut expenses if citizens do that? Hell no.

Exactly. This is a city that spent tens of thousands of dollars to move a bike path 2 feet.

Curious George said...

"MadisonMan said...
By the way, this is the city that fines you if you don't get your walk shoveled in a timely manner

Are there (northern) cities that don't do that?"

DUnno, I'm sure some. But the point is that they will fine you if you don't do your job, but....

You teach?

Larry J said...


Blogger MadisonMan said...
It's Madison. Do you think they will cut expenses if citizens do that? Hell no.

Exactly. This is a city that spent tens of thousands of dollars to move a bike path 2 feet.


You have your priorities and they have theirs. You expect your taxes will be spent on providing useful services and they spend the money on vital necessities like the Third Deputy Assistant City Manager for Diversity and Jelly Donuts.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, did you guys get out there and do your part? And did you solemnly video it? Are we to be allowed to comment on Meade's spadework?

Ann Althouse said...

"The water will clear the snow in the inlets all by itself."

No it won't. The rain will wash around the hard packed icy snow.

Ann Althouse said...

"If average citizens are willing to pitch in with tasks like this - tasks which should take no more than 5 minutes - then maybe the city could save a lot of taxpayer money by NOT having to pay wages and benefits to municipal "workers" to perform such simple tasks."

Clearing one inlet was a 30-minute job.

Ann Althouse said...

And the taxes here are high. Well over $10,000 a year in our neighborhood.

YoungHegelian said...

Be very careful where you stand when you clear a storm drain that has a large pool of water built up around it!

When you clear the stoppage, the water is going to surge down that opening like a MF, taking ice, snow, sticks, whatever down with it. If you are standing near the drain, it'll try to suck you down with it, and may take off a boot, or tip you over. Stand on top of the concrete cover, not on the street beside the drain when you clear it. It's amazing how much force even a small amount of fast running water can muster.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...

"The water will clear the snow in the inlets all by itself."

No it won't. The rain will wash around the hard packed icy snow."

Ice melts at 32F+. Water that is warmer than 32F...and the rain water will be, is actually better than air at melting ice or snow. We are to get an all day light rain. Nothing to worry about.

CWJ said...

Althouse,

the secret to keeping it under 30 minutes is a good strong garden fork. Works equally well on wet leaves and icy snow. Good drainage for the leaves; good impact for the ice. I used to do this all the time when we lived in Fort Wayne. I didn't mind it.

OTOH, I never paid anywhere near 15K in property taxes either there or here in KC. So in your and MadisonMan's case then yeah, I'd be less sympathetic to the city's woes. Since it's Winter, can't they put Art Ross, bicycle pedestrian coordinator, on the job?

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, did you guys get out there and do your part? And did you solemnly video it? Are we to be allowed to comment on Meade's spadework?"

I didn't do it or video it, and Meade is not talking about it.

Achilles said...

It is funny watching all of these municipalities show us how useless they are. What services do they actually provide? We have to pay for sewer. We have to pay for water. We have to pay for garbage. We have to build the roads to anything we develop. We have to pay to install the power lines if we want bigger electrical service. All of them. To get more than 800 amp 3 phase we would have to replace the lines between two service stations to handle the load 5 miles from our house. One of the local cities here(about 50k people) barely plows the snow. It literally piles up in the middle lane of the 3 lane one ways.

Over half the money we make goes to this failure. What do those people even do? I know that a lot of the money is going to pay pensions, i.e. people that don't work. Funny how that is working out for us now.

Birkel said...

What? We cannot completely count on government? We must provide things for ourselves?

When will we learn?

David said...

You need a shovel year round in Madison. Having to shovel the white stuff along with the 24/7 brown stuff only makes it more difficult in winter.

David said...

"Clearing one inlet was a 30-minute job."

For Meade.

Meade surely is a harder, faster and stronger physical worker than the average Madisonian, but he's also more thorough, which takes additional time. I don't see most of the citizens of Madison putting in a half of an hour on this.

All those strong young college students could get it done, right? They care so much, maybe they would volunteer. They would, wouldn't they?

David said...

We never have this problem in coastal South Carolina.

Rusty said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
And the taxes here are high. Well over $10,000 a year in our neighborhood.

Seems a little steep to not clean a drain.

I pay more than that and most of it goes to various pensions.

Tank said...

At 30 minutes per, how many extra men would have to hired to do this ?

Ann Althouse said...

Most students are out of town,

BN said...

Citizens! Get to work! Save us! Do your duty!

Oh... and don't forget to pay taxes/yourselves on the way out.

Meade said...

I took my own slow sweet time because I didn't want any city authorities coming by getting impressed by my efficiency and then coercing me into a work crew truck. Sort of a reverse job security strategy was my thinking.

Meade said...

I faked a limp, muttered to myself out loud and took lots of breaks, studied the problem for a long time, leaned on my shovel, chatted with and patted the dogs of my neighbors walking by. That sort of thing.

Eric said...

Ice melts at 32F+. Water that is warmer than 32F...and the rain water will be, is actually better than air at melting ice or snow.

Sure, it will melt the ice eventually. But you'll have water everywhere in the meantime.

Eric said...

All those strong young college students could get it done, right? They care so much, maybe they would volunteer.

Hahahahaha. College students don't generally do the kind of caring that requires manual labor.

BN said...

Meade said: "I took my own slow sweet time...I faked a limp, muttered to myself out loud and took lots of breaks,"

So, you fit right in with the regular govt workers, huh?

Danno said...

The city of Madison has lots of little trucks that drive up and down almost every street within two miles of campus with GPS and photographic capabilities to catch even minor violations of its residential parking rules. Maybe these drivers could be issued a shovel and a ice chipping tool, since they are already out and about everywhere that counts. I suppose they have more important work to do.

Triangle Man said...

Clearing fire hydrants and sidewalks in front of your property is already a requirement, is it not? Why shouldn't storm drains be included?

tim in vermont said...

When we lived in a town the size of Madison, with grid streets, and whatnot, we would have done this as a matter of course, especially if it was backed up and flooding. I guess I would be shocked if Wisconsinites weren't the same.