Council discussing changing snow removal procedure

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, October 10, 2017

By Sarah Kocher

The Albert Lea City Council is considering moving forward with a change in the city’s snow removal procedure following a public hearing over delinquent accounts regarding the code of ordinances.

Nicole Linde, a Front Street property owner, said she had charges for snow removal that she shoveled herself. She was charged an $80 fine for the city to shovel the snow, and neither party could prove that they shoveled the snow. She requested city staff begin taking pictures when they shovel snow.

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Property owners have 48 hours to shovel their snow before the city will shovel for a fee.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker agreed that it would be a good change to begin documenting snow removal in this way.

“I think this process has to change,” Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. said, though he said he is not sure how. City Manager Chad Adams is looking into what adding this step to the process could look like.

Several Albert Lea community members also attended the Monday council meeting to discuss assessments and construction taking place throughout Albert Lea.

According to City Engineer Steve Jahnke, the city is at least a week behind the Oct. 20 contract on the Sunset Street reconstruction project. Sunset Street resident Dennis Hansel asked for the assessments to be postponed until next year, as he believed the project will not be done before next year.

“Nobody’s been very happy with what we’ve put up with,” Hansel said at the meeting.

Jahnke attributed the delay to rain events that limited construction. The council approved the assessments to move forward.

In addition to approving the assessments for the Sunset Street project, the council approved assessments for work on the following projects:

  • South Broadway Avenue from 14th Street to U.S. Highway 65.
  • The 2017 neighborhood improvement, East Main Street frontage road and landfill road reconstruction project.
  • Lake Avenue and East College Street.

Additionally, city funds were approved to pay $36,250 to Quorum, the accounting firm investigating further options for hospital services in Albert Lea. This is the first half of the $75,000 total payment. The city will be paid back $25,000 from Save Our Hospital and $25,000 from Freeborn County, Adams said.

The City Council also approved orders for removal for a house at 122 Euclid Ave. The landowner was unable to attend, so the Rev. John Holt asked on the owner’s behalf for a delay to fix up the property for resale.

Bob Ackland attended the public forum and stated to the council that he intends to buy the property to turn it into low-income housing.

A delay, Fourth Ward Councilor Reid Olson said, would only anger neighbors.

The council approved the order for removal, and Ackland has 30 days to work to buy the property.


About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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