Residents skeptical of Prosser snow-removal contract

Margaret Moran

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Town officials this week assured residents that snow removal service this winter in Prosser will be the same as previous years, despite approval of a contract that allows for less equipment on the road.

On Tuesday, Truckee Town Council unanimously awarded a snow removal bid for the Prosser area, which includes Pioneer Trail and Prosser Dam Road, to Truckee-based R-1 Snow Removal for the 2013-14 winter.

“We are not opposing the bid award to R-1 and do not suggest any delay or re-bid be done,” Pat Davison, executive director of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, told council members. “We are simply questioning why the 2013 bid documents contain a reduced equipment requirement.”

According to the contract, one all-wheel drive loader along with one plow truck, one self-propelled snow blower and a grader is the minimum equipment required.

In addition, R-1 must guarantee availability of one backup loader in case the primary loader becomes inoperable or unavailable.

“The backup equipment section for 2013 is not relevant because it does not put a loader on the street for routine snow removal as was done in the past,” Davison said. “… It seems logical to conclude that one loader for 2013 will not provide the same level of service that these residents and businesses has received in the past when two loaders were regularly used.”

Prosser Lakeview Estates resident Eric Sutton raised similar concerns.

“I’m disappointed for the people that live out there because the level of service will go down,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it, when you reduce the amount of equipment.”

Dan Wilkins, public works director/town engineer, explained that R-1 must own two loaders this year, as has been the case during past winters, but can meet required service levels by using one.

Essentially, the contractor must plow streets once every 12 hours anytime there are 3 or more inches of snow on the roadway.

“These are the same service-level requirements as in the prior year’s contract, and (they) are consistent with service levels in all other areas of Truckee,” according to a report from Wilkins.

The contract specifies priority be given to East Alder Creek Road, Rainbow Drive, Alder Drive, Beacon Road, Pine Forest, Prosser Dam Road, Pioneer Trail and Comstock Drive. The total scope of work the contract covers is 15 miles, Wilkins said.

“Should the contractor … choose to plow with two pieces of equipment … they can do so,” he said.

Two contractors placed a bid, with R-1 being the low bidder at $111,298. The final cost will be determined by the severity and pattern of snowfall this winter.

Money in the public works budget for Prosser area snow removal is $170,000.

Snow removal for the Prosser area has been contracted to the private sector for nearly two decades.

Due to the area being historically contracted out, the town council believes it’s “appropriate” to continue this method of service delivery, Wilkins said.

No other Truckee area is contracted out for snow removal.

The in-house snow removal budget this winter is approximately $2 million, Wilkins said, and covers all town roads.

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