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Kentucky counties will face a snow plow driver shortage this winter


Last winter, the Kenton County Engineer's Office had eight seasonal positions open. The job includes snow plow and salt truck operations. Public Works Supervisor Rick Buster says they were only able to fill two of those positions, and there are fears it might happen again.

“Even if you wanted to contract it, you’re not guaranteeing any amount of work on the low end or the high end," he says. "There’s a shortage of snow and ice removal (workers) across the state.”

Buster says this year, they're going to be stretched thin. “It’s hard for government to compete with Amazon and FedEx and these companies that are offering a lot higher wages. It’s hard for us to compete on that wage level.” He says the lack of benefits doesn’t help either.

Buster says it's tough, but Kenton County is trying to attract workers. “We try to make it a little bit proactive on the front end to say ‘if you come in with your class-B CDL (commercial driver’s license) you would start at $19 an hour, and you’d get a dollar pay raise every month,” he says. “So you’d start at $19, you’d end at $24. If you came in with a class-A CDL, you’d start at $20 and end at $25.”

Kenton County is responsible for removing snow and ice from about 300 lane-miles of road. Buster says other than worries about finding enough drivers, the Public Works Department is ready for winter, with close to 3,000 tons of salt on hand, and new storage and application tanks for calcium chloride and salt brine.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.