Despite concerns of illegal snow dumping, Syracuse may end its snow plow licenses

Nov 19, 2018

The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on getting rid of a required city license for snow plow drivers. Last winter, Mayor Ben Walsh's administration began actively enforcing the license law, which has been on the books since the 1970s.

A meeting last week between councilors and the city’s Director of Operations Corey Driscoll Dunham, did not seem to go anywhere. Dunham said requiring snow plow operators to have a city license is an enforcement tool to curb illegal snow dumping. She showed photos of snow pushed onto the streets and sidewalks after a recent snow storm.

“If someone justs continuously over and over again keeps violating city ordinances, obviously we can ticket them for that," Dunham said. "But as an additional enforcement tool, we can take their license away to say, you are not permitted to be conducting business in the city of Syracuse, you don’t have a license anymore because we revoked it because you can’t follow the rules.”

But Councilor Susan Boyle, who’s pushing to end the licensing, said it is making snow plow operators either raise their prices or stop plowing in the city.

“We do not use this license in any way to help us to identify people who are illegally dumping snow," Boyle said. "It does not provide any additional protections to the people of the city of Syracuse. It is literally nothing more than a list at this point. I don’t think it’s fair to business owners.”

It costs $250 to license a truck, and $50 for additional vehicles.

Councilor-At-Large Michael Greene said he is leaning towards getting rid of the license.

"I do have concerns about businesses being charged when it's not clear that we can provide them a benefit in exchange for that, or that we have a clear understanding of what we're doing with that information," Greene said.

Other councilors said they are split, but Boyle may have enough votes to eliminate it.