This has been one of the snowiest winters we’ve had in quite a while, and as I glance outside and see yet another snow event beginning, I’m wondering when and if spring weather will ever arrive. As grownups, when snow starts really coming down, our thoughts are drawn to practicalities, like clearing the driveway, making sure there’s gas in the car, wondering if frozen train tracks will disrupt Metra commutes, and making sure we have the supplies we need at the house.
When Naperville saw 10+ inches of snow fall on top of already deep snow in mid-February, I admit I dreaded the shoveling, snow blowing, and car window scraping that was coming. But then I stopped and thought about how much I loved heavy snowfalls when I was a kid. The more snow the better, because big snow equaled snow days from school. On these precious days, all the kids from the neighborhood would spend hours upon hours playing in the snow. I have fond memories of bundling up and heading to the big hill at North Central College for a day of sledding with my buddies.
I was in junior high school when the blizzard of 1979 hit Chicagoland. When nearly two feet of snow blanketed Naperville over two days in mid-January that year, I remember building snow forts and having huge snowball fights with other kids from the neighborhood. Now, as an adult, I’m guessing my parents were probably worried about how long it would take for the streets to be plowed and to be rendered safe for driving.
This reminiscing made me think of our City of Naperville, and how at its most basic level, Naperville is a service delivery organization. This includes police and fire protection, access to gas, sewer and garbage pick-up, and, yes, snow plowing.
We rely on our City’s government for service delivery so we can live our lives safely, comfortably and so we can travel on roads that are cleared within reasonable timeframes after snow events. We take these things for granted, but it is our public servants that are charged with making sure delivery of these basic services is a priority; that they differentiate between what Naperville residents need and what they want. We need safe neighborhoods and reliable, timely snow plowing, and we need to know that when we dial 9-1-1, that qualified and well-trained help is immediately on the way.
Whenever your City Councilmen and women discuss budget priorities, make sure they’re placing value on service delivery above feel-good measures.