city then, city now, city future
I have not updated this with the latest data which probably shows even further decline. Below is what I have showing the city's non-uniformed workforce (excluding police and fire that is, EMS and others are in there) looks like. Bottom line, between 1995 and 2007 the available workers are down a non-trivial 30%. I suspect the decline public works and sanitation is even larger. We can debate all sorts of things, but the miles of roads has not changed a mile over that period. Not just the workers, but has the city had any money to purchase anywhere near the capital assets (trucks, etc) it needs to do the job we expect.
Let's consider something.. Imagine if all that snow didn't arrive right at the very end of the work week, but on a Monday morning. What are the full costs of the full week the city would have been shut down?