How Best To Remove Snow From Saugatuck Streets Discussed
“There is no procedure (for snow removal for downtown sidewalks); when it snows, public works goes out to clear it,” Saugatuck City Manage Kirk Harrier said Monday in response to comments by a concerned downtown business owner.
The Saugatuck City Council tackled the subject of sidewalk snow removal at the meeting, addressing concerns by some local merchants while also looking at the city’s options for new, improved equipment, including a small, $60,000 vehicle that comes with a snow auger, front brush and a liquid salt tank (Toolcat 5600 G-Series).
“New equipment may be the solution everybody is looking for,” said Saugatuck Mayor Bill Hess.
“Prior to the holiday, a petition was submitted requesting the city to take a more proactive and responsible role in the removal of snow and ice from the public sidewalks,” downtown business owner Catherine Simon related, in part, from her prepared statement Monday.
Simon, who is one of about 40 local merchants who singed the petition, went on to state that the city’s response merely “reiterated the personal responsibility of each business owner to clear their walk.
“The city gave several excuses for their inability to clear city walks and the only solution offered was to create a special assessment district,” noted Simon.
The issue is not so black-and-white, said Harrier.
He said some merchants who did not sign the petition came to him to tell him they didn’t want the city to salt (deicer) in front of their businesses because the salt is tracked into their stores from the sidewalks.
Also, he said the use of salt is limited in front of city owned property because of its harmful effects to vegetation.
“The current problem with the salt sprayer is the devastation it causes on grass,” said Harrier.
You don’t have a hundred percent support for one specific approach,” he added.
In a his letter, dated December 12, to the business community, Harrier said the city’s own research determined that the best solution to fund additional sidewalk winter maintenance was through a special assessment to property owners.
“When the city council discussed this information it was not met with an overwhelming degree of support from a majority of the business community,” Harrier states in his letter.
He told his council Monday: “Anything is doable (to fix the problem) depending on how you want to do it.”
As for the $60,000 vehicle with a liquid salt tank, it will replace the city’s John Deere tractor, which city officials say was purchased in 2004 and is reaching the end of its lifespan.