Eau Claire (WQOW) - With snow expected in the area on Thursday, people in Eau Claire are preparing for the first snow event of the winter.
"Everything's ready when we go home at the end of the day," Steve Thompson, Eau Claire's Street Maintenance manager, told News 18.
"All the trucks will be loaded, prepped, all the equipment is being checked over. We do the same thing every day to make sure that we're ready. That time of year, we have to be ready," he said.
Road crews with the city are planning a full residential plow, which means all of the nearly 200 miles of streets in Eau Claire will be plowed over the next three days. So people who park their cars on the road overnight will have to pay attention.
"We haven't had an event yet that would require us to plow all the city streets and do a full residential plow," Thompson said.
At this time last year, three snow events had already been declared. City officials told News 18 the late start could help they city's wallet.
"Anytime that you don't have to do a full residential plow operation, it does help the budget," Thompson said. "Those are expensive operations, but they are necessary."
It also means fewer parking tickets. Since the winter parking rule change, the yearly ticket total has been cut in half. In 2015, the city made more than $460,000 from tickets. Last year, it brought in just $143,000.
Staff said that money goes into the general fund to help reduce the tax levy, and while they may have less money from tickets, the city doesn't rely on violations as a revenue source.
On Thursday, a full residential plow was announced. That means alternate side parking will begin at Midnight.
"On the odd number days, you have to park on the odd side of the street. On the even number days, park on the even side of the street," Thompson explained.
The city said there is a grace period between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and Midnight. So if drivers get home between those hours, they said people should park according to the following day.
However, for the first snow, or the twenty-first, the same message remains:
"Make sure you give the operators plenty of room to operate their trucks, stay back. If you gotta be out and it's snowing hard, take your time. Plan ahead," Thompson advised.