After receiving enough snow last week overnight Thursday and into Friday to reach above the knee of a 6'1" tall man, our Institute pickup truck with the plow attached on the front, just wasn't able to overcome the formidable amount of snow. So challenging was the amount of snow to our main piece of snow clearing equipment, that the plow motor itself strained to the point of giving up and refusing to move. Our second piece of equipment is what some would call a small-sized, older tractor with a relatively limited capacity bucket, which is very inefficient and ineffective for use as a plow.
For an average winter, our groundsman has been able to accomplish a lot with what he has to work with. It's in those challenging winters that we are often tested beyond our limits and discover our greatest shortcomings. It is very encouraging to hear that our SLI leadership has already begun asking the questions like, "How can we avoid a snow removal backup like this past week as we evaluate and plan for our future?"
Though some of us had no urgent need to get out while the snow was holding us in, others of us still had jobs and responsibilities to get to. There were those who misjudged on their winter supplies and really needed to get to the supermarket. Plugged roads not only complicate daily life but make us insecure about whether or not a fire or emergency vehicle will be able to reach us in time of need. We were indeed lucky that we had no such needs this week. We were also very lucky to have neighbors and friends who pitched in to give us assistance with the big task of moving around large amounts of snow.
Larger and more powerful equipment perhaps with V-plow blades is most likely one of the main answers to our equipment deficiency. We may need to look for some used equipment until a longer range plan can become part of the regular budget. Is is reasonable to say that most of us would urge that we completely avoid a tax increase? This is what makes the unpaid, volunteer leadership positions in the Institute a lot of hard work at times, because there are so often no easy answers to complicated problems. At least the right questions are being asked.