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Preston puts teeth into sidewalk snow removal ordinance


Fri, Jan 8th, 2010
Posted in Government

After considerable discussion, the Preston City Council unanimously adopted at their January 4 meeting a fee structure to enforce the city's ordinance pertaining to snow removal on sidewalks. The city has received numerous complaints.

The current ordinance 92.01 part B requires property owners or occupants to keep their sidewalk safe for pedestrians. Snow should be removed within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. If snow is not removed, the city will cause the snow to be removed at the property owner's or occupant's expense. City Administrator Joe Hoffman and councilman Robert Sauer have been acting as a committee to review the ordinances.

Hoffman questioned whether the ordinance should be more strictly enforced. Four pictures of attempts at clearing sidewalks around town were reviewed. Sauer said all the sidewalks pictured showed an effort to remove the snow, but some others failed to do anything. Mayor Kurt Reicks asked if the whole width of the sidewalk needs to be cleared or just an accessible path. The council, by consensus, was comfortable with a safe accessible path.

Councilman David Collett remarked if we don't enforce the current ordinance, another ordinance will not make a difference. Sauer insisted it was the duty of the city to provide safe passage for citizens. He noted he has seen pedestrians walking in the streets where sidewalks are not cleaned.

Sauer cited a Rochester ordinance which has a step scale for charges with charges increasing for each incidence where the city removes snow from a sidewalk. He suggested everyone be notified with a notice delivered with their utility bills that the ordinance will be enforced. Sauer said the ordinance should be enforced or removed from the books.

Hoffman asked the council if they should be proactive, meaning the city crews or staff would report failures to remove the snow, or if they should be reactive only when citizen complaints are made. Sauer said they should be proactive. Councilman David Harrison added, "We don't want citizens walking in the streets."

Public Works Director Bill Cox said he liked the idea of the steps in surcharges as he didn't want the city to be used as a sidewalk plowing service. Hoffman agreed that it would be a significant cost to the city to use full benefit employees and city equipment for that kind of work.

Sauer suggested they hire private operators and charge property owners the private operator's cost plus a .....
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Spring Valley plans for additional LGA cuts

Fri, Jan 8th, 2010
Posted in Government

The Spring Valley City Council had a special meeting on Wednesday night to discuss issues and what projects the city would like to deal with in 2010. City Administrator Deb Zimmer set the pace of the meeting by again cautioning the council on the im ..... 
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Rushford city administrator gets new contract

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Government

In what some locals have dubbed a strange turn of events, City Administrator Windy Block's contract with the city was amended at a special meeting, Monday, December 21st. The new contract comes as a conclusion to a surprise proposal at the November ..... 
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Rushford council votes to keep liquor store in operation

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Government

At the Monday, December 28th meeting, two outgoing councilors and the outgoing mayor helped to determine the fate of the city's much debated muncipal liquor store. A presentation by store manager Diane Jonsgaard and City Administrator Windy Block det ..... 
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Preston adopts final 2009 levy

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Government

No one from the general public took the opportunity to comment on the budget and the levy collectible in 2010 at the December 21 Preston City Council meeting.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman used pie charts to break down the city's expenses ..... 
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County advances toward ARMER communications

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Government

After months of study and discussion, the county board unanimously passed a resolution at their December 22 meeting to have a participation plan developed for the migration into the Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response (ARMER) public safety co ..... 
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Peterson approves bid-letting for sewer plant

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Government

The regular meeting of the Peterson City Council was called to order by Mayor Eidenschink on December 9, 2009. Council members present were: Tim Hallum, Randy Benson, and Bill Grindland. Absent: Jan Smaby, Lolly Melander. Michelle Vreise and Wayne S ..... 
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Burr Oak extension resolved

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Government

The Chatfield City Council, on December 21, held a closed meeting lasting about three quarters of an hour to discuss litigation resulting from the contract made with Winona Mechanical for the Burr Oak Extension. Following the closed meeting, the cou ..... 
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Predicted cost of levee system improvements $1.1 million

Fri, Dec 18th, 2009
Posted in Government

In a final report at the Monday, December 14th, meeting the Rushford City Council was presented with a detailed list of procedures, and a corresponding price tag, for addressing levee system recertification. The predicted cost in making the levee co ..... 
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