Snow & ice removal discussed by city council

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/3/96.

Snow and slush and the problems it creates for homeowners was among the topics discussed by the Paynesville City Council Tuesday noon. The first snowfall of the season turned out to be more rain and slush. When snowplows cleared the streets, the slush was pushed unto sidewalks where there wasnât a boulevard, creating a hazard when it froze.

Tom Kotten, a homeowner on Minnesota Street, said the snowplows pushed all the ice from the street onto the sidewalks and, due to the rain, they werenât able to get it removed before it froze. ăI talked with Bub Hartmann (snow removal contractor) and he refused to do anything to help clear the ice,ä Kotten told the council. ăIâm also told the city wonât take responsibility for the ice removal either.ä

Kotten stressed this is a problem which needs to be cleared up before the big snows get here for the winter. ăThere are good and bad things about sidewalks, the snow and ice removal is one of the bad things,ä Kotten added. ăThe city has money for airports, why canât they help with snow removal? Snow removal is a burden to a lot of retired people and it isnât a $5 project anymore.ä He asked why the city couldnât provide snow removal service to those with sidewalks just like water and sewer services.

Public Works Director Ron Mergen explained to the city that there were a lot of people who did not get their sidewalks cleared after the first snow. ăThere were also a lot of people who went out in the rain to clear the slush off their sidewalks. They complained, asking why other sidewalks werenât cleared according to the city ordinance.

ăI admit there is a problem on Minnesota Street and on Highway 23 where the sidewalk abuts the curb,ä Mergen said. He suggested the city could go out and help cut down the ice from the first snowfall. In the spirit of cooperation, Mayor Voss agreed, it would be helpful for the city to remove the ice.

Kevan McCarney asked if the city couldnât also cut down snow at the curb lines at intersections as they get to be a problem.

Mayor Voss suggested the public works committee come up with a feasible plan for snow removal to take into account the sidewalks abutting curbs and crosswalks where snow piles up. City Administrator Dennis Wilde said the streets needed to be plowed curb to curb otherwise they would be to narrow by the end of the winter. After further discussion, the council approved having the public works department help clear the problem areas on Minnesota Street and Highway 23.

In other business:
đThe council approved an EDAP loan to Quality Checked Plastics for $100,000 for five years. Quality Checked Plastics is in the process of building a new building near their present site. The project is expected to be completed in March.

đThe council approved purchasing a new 1996 Ford Explorer from Yarmon Ford for the Police Department. With the trade-in of the 1990 Ford Crown Victoria squad car, the purchase price is $23,215.

đThe council set Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. to consider the assessment protests for the 1996 Street Improvement Project Reassessments and the Evergreen Court Assessments.

đPrior to the meeting, Mayor Joe Voss had asked a comparison of mayor and council salaries be made. ăThere is a disparity in salaries between Paynesville and other communities. I would like to see an increase be made so Paynesville would be in line with Cold Spring and Melrose,ä Voss said.

At present, Paynesville councilmen are paid between $1,490 and $1,540 a year and the mayor receives $1,600. Salaries in Cold Spring are $2,700 for mayor and $2,100 for council; Melrose, $4,000 mayor and $3,000 council; St. Joseph, $3,840 for mayor and $2,040 for council.

ăThe positions take people away from work and families,ä Voss said. ăMany people donât realize the council is a paid position. Most people serve as a public service.ä Councilman Bert Stanley didnât think the council had seen a raise in more than 10 years. Stanley has served on the council eight years.

The council approved raising the salaries. The mayor will receive $3,600 a year and council members $2,400 a year. The councilmen are paid for posted meetings only and not for attending committee meetings.

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