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Snow Gate Vote Could Be Set Tuesday Night

December 18, 2012, 5:55 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Snow Gate Vote Could Be Set Tuesday Night
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Now that you're out shoveling your driveways, this is a question you want to pay attention to. When will the snow gate debate go to Sioux Falls voters?

A petition drive yielded enough signatures to put snow gates to a public vote, but when will it happen?  There is a resolution on Tuesday night's city council agenda that would put the issue to a May special election. But some of the council members want to wait until the city's general election in 2014.

Every time the snow falls, the question resurfaces: What about the snow gates? After three years of testing the devices, city officials are poised to make a decision whether to implement them city-wide.  But a petition drive has already ensured voters will make that decision. The question is when.  Teresa Stehly started the petition drive.

"We had a special election with the drake springs pool. We had a special election with the events center. And we think this issue merits that treatment as well," Stehly said.

Snow gates drop when plows go in front of driveways to help keep some of the snow from collecting there. Studies have shown plows with the gates cost more to operate and take more time. Stehly says that's a price to pay for what she calls a quality of life issue that she wants decided on by spring.

"Our intent when we did this petition drive was to let this go to a 2013 spring election in conjunction with the school district. So we are hoping the council will respect the spirit of the petitions and the 60 volunteers who gave their time to get the vote to the public," Stehly said.

Some city councilors want the issue pushed back to the city's next general election in 2014, saying by then there would be enough information after three test years of just how the plows with the gates did versus those without.

With a resolution on Tuesday's agenda, there will be a vote. Both sides are hoping the vote question falls in their favor.

The city council meeting is set for 7 p.m. at Carnegie Town Hall. It is open to the public.

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