The Yuma City Council spent the majority last week’s regular meeting discussing snow removal.
And that was before about eight to nine more inches fell on Yuma.
Six of the seven council members were in attendance — Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayo Pro-tem Marc Shay, Dan Baucke, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Terri Frame, and Tim McClung. Jerome Benish was absent.
It was Baucke who brought up the subject of snow removal. He said at the start of the meeting that he wanted it added to the agenda.
“I think it’s important to discuss some of the priorities that need to be changed,” he said.
City Manager Scott Moore was absent at last week’s meeting, pointed out by Swehla, who added it could not be added to the agenda as an action item, but could be as a discussion item. Baucke said he understood that, saying “I think we need to talk about it with the amount of snow we’ve had.”
The council unanimously approved adding the topic as a discussion item.
Baucke then got the discussion started. He noted the city spent more than $80,000 on putting a slurry seal on Ivy St. on the east side of the Yuma District Hospitals and Clinics campus, but is not removing the snow except right around the clinic, though it remains a main road to the facility. He said he thinks all of Ivy St. needs to be picked up.
He then explained how difficult it was to drive the streets during a recent Yuma High School basketball game due to the parked vehicles and the snow. He stressed that the streets around YHS and the other school campus need to be picked up. Swehla said that was now getting taken care of.
Baucke also explained that people have to be going around the snow at the churches, suggesting the snow around all the churches needs cleared.
“I just want to make sure these are our priorities,” Baucke said.
He also stressed he thought the city crews were doing a good job clearing the streets, and that it is better than other area towns he visits. “I just want to bring to light we need to change priorities.”
Baucke said the whole town can be plowed in two days, and then spend the following days picking up the windrows.
McClung brought up that is has been the constant accumulation of snow that has made it more difficult, noting that Yuma has received more than a foot of snow over the past month. He said it does not occur often but it is this year and likely will continue.
The city has a protocol in place depending upon how much snow falls, but the council discussed that the continuous snowfall has changed the reality. Frame asked if a plan has to be approved by the council, which would require another meeting. She was told the city staff can make adjustments, but the council can provide input.
Smith-Dischner noted that she has received just as much input regarding people not shoveling their snow besides city snow removal, but when code enforcement starts warning people about their sidewalks, there are complaints about that.
“I am at a loss,” she said.
McClung said he agrees the city does need to reconsider priorities, and look at accumulation over time rather than just a single snow event.
He also pointed out that the council budgeted $2,000 for snow removal in 2023 and already has gone through that. He said there needs to be a mechanism in place for the council to decide whether or not to spend more to pick up the snow.
The next decent chance for snow is this weekend, though it is not supposed to amount to much, at least as of earlier this week.
• The council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance dealing with campaign finance complaints. The ordinance is necessary because the Colorado Secretary of State no longer is dealing with such complaints at a local level, so the city has to have rules in place even though that situation rarely, if ever, occurs.
• The council was told the sewer extension project on Centennial Road at the northeast edge of town is completed. However, some related street repair will have to wait until there are better weather conditions.
• Council members gave some brief reports, including Frame about Yuma County Economic Development’s recent efforts. The council then adjourned until the next regular meeting. The council also held a workshop prior to the regular meeting to discuss the General Fund.