The LaPrairie City Council convened for its regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall on Monday, March 21 and snowplowing was the topic of the day.
Mayor Mike Fall said that the city had been presented with a contract from Itasca County for the 2016/2017 winter. The county plowed some of the city’s roads in 2015/2016. The city was also provided an estimate by Schwartz & Sons. Fall said that the council needed to make a decision at Monday’s meeting due to a deadline.
Councilor Vic Moen said that the estimate from Schwartz & Sons called for service at a rate of $685 per mile per season plus the cost of salt and sand at a rate of $58/yard. In an average winter, the estimate from Schwartz & Sons to plow slightly less than seven miles of roads in the city would be about $5,500, he said.
Fall said that terms of the county’s proposal called for one trip per month at $700 per mile, and that two trips per month would cost $1,400, however, personnel from the county confirmed that the $700 per mile rate is a per-season rate no matter how much it does or does not snow.
Councilor Steve Feyma asked if Schwartz & Sons had the necessary sanding equipment. Fall responded “yes” and added that Schwartz also had a grader. “If you recall we really didn’t get a grader this year,” the mayor said.
Feyma then asked if there were any other cities being plowed by Schwartz. Fall said “no” but added that Schwartz did plow some township roads. Feyma then asked if LaPrairie would be a priority. Fall responded that he couldn’t answer the question but said that conversations with Schwartz led him to believe that Schwartz understood that LaPrairie would be a priority.
Fall then said; “I want to reiterate this; this was terrible this year. Our snow plowing was beyond terrible.” Fall said the county’s grader was broken down for much of the winter and that the end result was three inches of ice and ruts on city streets.
Moen then inquired about LaPrairie Ave., a County State Aid road. Fall said that the county would continue to plow LaPrairie Ave. Moen asked if the nearly 7 miles of road being considered for snow plowing included LaPrairie Ave. “No” said Fall, adding that he didn’t think the county would be upset if LaPrairie didn’t renew its contract. “The county had its hands full,” Fall said.
Referring to Schwartz & Sons, Fall closed his remarks by saying “They’re located right here. They’ve been very responsive in other business we’ve done with them. I think they’ve done a good job of taking care of the city so they’re worth the venture.”
Councilor Tony Donahue made a motion to accept the bid from Schwartz & Sons and Lynn O’Brien seconded. The measure passed unanimously.
In other business, the council:
• Confirmed the Board of Appeals and Equalization meeting will take place April 19, starting at 9:00 a.m.
• Voted to contribute $250 to First Call For Help, but not sign a contract with First Call For Help as suggested by the city’s legal council.
• Voted to pay Greenway High School students participating in the Close-Up Program to rake the grounds around city hall at the same rate as the previous year.