Alderman calls for more snow removal enforcement
Alderman Greg Knight wants the city to get tougher on people who don’t shovel their sidewalks in a timely manner.
At Tuesday night’s Medford City Council meeting Knight raised concerns he received from a resident following last weekend’s snowfall in the city. “They would like the city to be more proactive to remind those that don’t shovel to do so,” he said, noting they suggested the city should do the shoveling and charge the property owners.
City coordinator Joe Harris said the crew has been taking a measured approach to snow removal similar to how they have handled complaints that people’s yards are not mowed. “We don’t go looking for them, because everyone’s situation is different,” Harris said.
Mayor Mike Wellner supported how the city was enforcing the rules. He noted that especially with snow removal it can sometimes be tough especially for older people who can’t get out to shovel on their own and who can’t afford to have someone shovel for them. He also noted that while out walking this weekend there were entire blocks where they could tell by the tire tracks that one person cleared everyone’s sidewalks.
Knight said that about 90% of the homes are shoveled right after the snow and that it is the 10% who don’t that need to be addressed. “Everybody is out getting it done and those few who need to be reminded,” he said.
The city code gives 24 hours after a snowfall for the sidewalk to be cleared. Alderman Mike Bub questioned about people being away for a weekend or on vacation. He said the focus should be on the people who repeatedly don’t shovel their snow.
The city’s downtown will get a boost under a new agreement reached with local developer Doug Gasek for the former Brucker Building located at 238 and 240 S. Main Street. Gasek seeks to renovated and redevelop the property as a performing art center serving the community. Per the agreement it will include a performing space, commercial rental property and lounge.
The city acquired the property described as “a dilapidated and hazardous building” from the county which had taken it on tax deed and under terms of the agreement transferred it to Gasek for a token price of $1 plus closing costs and the prorated taxes since January 1. Under terms of the agreement, Gasek will have until December 2024 to complete the rehabilitation project, if not the city has the ability to take the property back through a reverter clause in the agreement.
In other business, aldermen:
Approved a $120,000, five year assessor contract for the city with Menasha- based Accurate. The contract includes maintenance assessments for four years with a revaluation taking place on the fifth year. It is hoped that short time between revaluations will prevent large jumps in values such as were seen in the recent citywide revaluation.
Approved a bid from Medford Cooperative to purchase a 1,000 gallon fuel tank and pump at a cost not to exceed $6,110 to replace the existing 10,000 gallon tank at the city shop. The current tank no longer meets state requirements. According to Harris the plan is to have the tank installed and in use by early January. “It should work out perfect when the other tank runs out,” Harris said. The fuel tank is used by the public works and police department vehicles.
Approved the updated job description and to proceed with the hiring plan to replace wastewater treatment plant superintendent Ben Brooks who is leaving to run the Wausau facility.
Approved the appointment of Jason Viergutz for the position of Street & Water Superintendent effective December 1. Viergutz has been with the city public works department for about seven years. Wellner noted that in keeping with past practice, he will be on probation for the first year starting at 90% of the wage and moving to 95% after a six month evaluation and then moving to the full rate of $35.63 per hour next December following successful performance evaluation.
Approved renewing the threeyear agreement with JJ Enterprises of Medford LLC (Jennifer Buskerud and Joan Dettmering) to operate a concession stand next to the city pool in the park. The city does not charge the company anything to operate the stand.