He says ordinance has had the desired effect: Getting pedestrians off the streets

    Maybe it’s because at least a dusting of new snow continues to fall in Crookston on almost a daily basis. Whatever the reason, At Large Crookston City Council Member Wayne Melbye said at this week’s Ways & Means Committee meeting that he continues to field questions about the city’s snow removal ordinance as it relates to property owners who are slow to clear their sidewalks of snow, or don’t clear them at all.   

    When Melbye asked Public Works Director Pat Kelly about it a couple weeks ago, when the community was fresh off a winter storm that dumped around 10 inches of snow over a two-day period, Kelly said he wasn’t about to start assessing administrative fees against properties that need to have their sidewalks cleared of snow by city staff until the city had cleared snow from all of the sidewalks on properties it owns.   

    This week, when Melbye asked again, Kelly said he continues to tell his “inspector” to be on the “lenient” side.   

    “We never go out 48 hours after a snow to inspect,” Kelly explained, referencing the specific language in the ordinance. “People get three days, minimum. If you haven’t cleared it by then, you probably aren’t going to.”   

    The inspector went around town around a week ago, Kelly said, mostly concentrating on properties that hadn’t cleared any snow since the big storm. “That’s what we’re concentrating on, people who haven’t done hardly anything since the 10 inches fell,” he explained.    

    Kelly stressed that he thinks the Public Works Department is pretty easy on residents who are a little slow to clear their walks. He also suggested that people who are going away for an extended period of time make arrangements with a neighbor or someone else to clear any snow from their sidewalk that might fall while they’re gone.   

    “If you’re going to Mexico for a couple weeks, it might be wise to make some arrangements,” he said.   

    Kelly said the snow removal policy has had the desired impact since it was put in place years ago, by giving pedestrians a safer option than the street to walk during the winter.   

    “Twenty years ago, snow removal was a major challenge,” he said. “But it’s helped. Even though we’re pretty darn lenient, the majority now clear their walks in a reasonably timely fashion. It’s getting people off the streets, and that’s been the goal all along.”


    Continuing with a year-end tradition, the committee approved an updated membership list of various committees, put forth by Mayor Dave Genereux.   

    Although several of the appointees were appointed earlier this year to fill the terms of people who resigned for various reasons, a new appointee of note is Stacy Hamre, who Genereux picked to fill the Park Board seat of Jim Kujawa, who’s second term is expiring.   

    There are two seats on the Library Board that will be vacated when the terms of Albert Sims and Janice Dorman expire, but Genereux said the board needs to meet to discuss potential appointees before anyone is ready for approval.