Snow need to panic in Baker

The City of Baker is running shorthanded when it comes to snow removal, according to Mayor Steve Zachmann.

But, he stressed there is no need for property and business owners to panic.

Responding to a public comment at the Jan. 4 meeting, the mayor said that snow removal policy is being publicized and followed.

“There are some open areas on Main Street where there are some empty lots. They are not a problem, they just don’t have anybody right there or a storefront right there to clear them. The people that live and have businesses on the east side of Main Street have it a little better because the wind blows and usually clears it.

“North of Highway 12 on the east side is usually pretty clear. On the north side on the west side, we do have some snow pile in there. I don’t know who is doing it (removing snow), but they are doing a good job of it once the storms subside.”

He did say there are problems with snow by the stoplight. “It is pretty difficult and the Highway Department comes in. They go through there, but then they are out on the highway and the dusting can pile up. I don’t know what the answer is there at the four-way as far as keeping that clear.

“I have talked to the city about the post office area. It (snow) piles up there. The contractor there is supposed to clear up the sidewalks entirely,” the mayor explained during his comment period at the end of the meeting.

The problems of snow removal for residents include not throwing snow onto the streets, the mayor said.

“You are not allowed to, with a snow blower or shovel,push the snow onto the street if you are clearing your sidewalks. It is unfortunate that the sidewalks happen to be in the city right of way. When we (the city) plow, we are going to try to go curb-to-curb on that right of way.”

The mayor said he has talked to business owners on Main Street and to members of the Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. “Once we hear from the Highway Department to find out what time they are going to come through. But, this only works if the store owners or a group get together to push it (snow) out onto the parking area on Highway 7 and Highway 12… if they get it there early enough so that the Highway Department comes through and clears that.

“The only other time that people can throw it out is when we start hauling snow or in the midst of a heavy blizzard again,” the mayor said.

He also explained that the city has just two employees working on the problem due to personal circumstances. “That is part of the reason there is more snow lying around than we normally have,” he said.

He said that the volunteers who pile up snow in the middle of the street need to know it doesn’t mean he city is going to come by quickly as they are busy throughout the city.

“There has to be a certain give and take to open the driveways… It the driveways are blocked by the snow we plowed up, we do try to get those open.”

The mayor recommended people call the city office or on weekends call public works to get it taken care of. “It is not a matter for the public to panic over. We will do what we can.”

The policy is going to continue and the city will try to open up the driveways as they go along, the mayor said. “We might block them in the morning when we come through because the first thing we are trying to do is make the streets passable. Then we come back…. And the timing is depending on manpower.”

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