ELY – The accumulating piles of snow this winter and the city’s efforts to deal with it all were on the minds of city council members here Tuesday night during an abbreviated council …
ELY – The accumulating piles of snow this winter and the city’s efforts to deal with it all were on the minds of city council members here Tuesday night during an abbreviated council meeting to open 2020.
Mayor Chuck Novak praised public works crews for their “novel approach” to snow removal. “Considering our new snow blower and the amount of snow we have, rather than waiting to remove all the snow from the boulevards, they are going right up to the curbs and widening the streets,” he said. “If you’ve seen that new blower in action, it just keeps on going. If we had two or three more dump trucks, they could move faster, probably. They re doing a good job in widening our streets for parking.”
Council member Jerome Debeltz chimed in with additional praise. “We’ve had more snow this year than in the last five or ten years. [Our crews] are doing a great job and I commend them.”
Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski notified the council that city drivers may experience delays on Friday, Jan. 10, as Sheridan Street— a state highway maintained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation— will have snow removed from the curbs. “We assist where we can and when we can,” he said. “We will also be working in the downtown area this week, on Chapman Street, and the business corridor.”
Langowski explained that the new approach to removing snow this year involves taking the snow banks away up to the curbs. “This allows us to get snow removed on as many of the streets, and as quickly as possible, to allow room for the next big snowfall. This is done not necessarily for parking. It is done for the next big snowfall that we get,” he said.
The city purchased its new snowblower last fall to replace decades-old equipment that could not be maintained any longer. “We were fortunate we bought it when we did. A lot of departments across the state are having some issues with snow removal, and that is not us right now,” Langowski said.
He reminded the public that residential contract snowplow drivers are not allowed to push snow into neighbors’ yards or driveways, or into public right-of-ways like city streets. “We appreciate everyone’s patience in working with us,” he said.
Novak noted that a city ordinance prohibits residents from moving snow to city streets and sidewalks. “We will enforce the ordinance when we have to,” he said.
In other business, the council:
Called for sealed bids for the city’s 2020 legal newspaper. The Ely Timberjay is currently the city’s legal newspaper because it had the lowest bid last year.
Approved temporary liquor licenses for the Ely Jaycees Club for the Piragis Lumberjack Party on Feb. 15, Crapola Block Party in June, Music in the Park events and Blueberry/Art Festival in Whiteside Park and the Ely Marathon on Sept. 20.
Approved a commercial renovation loan for 141 N Central Ave. for $17,500 to replace floor and windows.
Approved the 2020 official city depositories as Frandsen Bank and Trust, Boundary Waters Bank and the 4M Fund.
Approved the final pay estimate for the Vermilion River ATV Bridge construction project for $254,173.38. The city was the fiscal agent on that project.
Approved the city of Ely fee schedule for 2020 with no changes.
Renewed the Ely Golf Course land lease for another year. The fee remains at zero.
Approved a resolution authorizing the Knights of Columbus Council 3238 to conduct Bingo on Feb. 9 and March 29.
Approved city in-kind services for the Ely Winter Fest, Feb. 6-16, and the Northland 300 Snowmobile and Annual Fun Run events at the Grand Ely Lodge, Jan. 22-26 with the stipulation that city street snow removal takes precedence.