Mother Nature left a covering of snow in the Pratt area over the weekend, but very few accidents resulted, according to Police Chief Gary Myers, who gave credit at Monday's Pratt City Commission meeting to Public Works Director Russ Rambat and his crews for efficient snow removal.
"They do a good job," Mayor Jeff Taylor echoed.
In another matter relating to snow, the Commission approved changes to the snow route ordinance that hadn't been upgraded since 2001. The goal, Rambat said, is that most residents will be within a couple of blocks of a street that is first priority for clearing. The amended ordinance adds the Maple Street extension from Parkway Avenue to K-61, Fincham Street from Sixth to U.S. 54, several blocks on West Eighth Street, Iowa Street, Taylor and New Streets between First and Sixth Streets, as well as other locations.
Some areas that no longer receive heavy traffic were deleted from the ordinance.
In the event of a snow emergency, declared by the city manager, residents would be required to remove cars from the streets. Dave Howard said, however, that he had not declared an emergency, even when 30 inches of snow fell at the end of March several years ago. A snow that heavy earlier in the year could prompt an emergency declaration.
Rambat said the usual procedure is to clear one "plow-width" on each side of the street, which may block some residents in, but a second priority would be to go back over the streets so residents could move easier.
Asked about the priority in clearing alleys for sanitation trucks, Rambat said the trucks manage pretty well, and alleys are difficult to clear because of gas meters that might be buried in snow.
Commissioner Gary Skaggs noted that trash had been picked up at his residence on Christmas Day and that he appreciated the service.
Rambat said sanitation workers are given the choice of running their routes as scheduled, and some prefer to work on holidays and not get behind.
In its continuing quest to clean up unsightly and dangerous properties, the commission approved a resolution to hold a hearing Feb. 17 on a property at 315 Illinois Ave. City Inspector Brad Blankenship said he had files on that property dating back to 1971 and indicated that "it's never going to get fixed."
A mobile home at 904 Garfield was demolished and the lot cleaned up last Monday, Blankenship said, at a cost of $2300 to the city. A house at 207 N. Taylor is "next in line," and the owner of the property in the 400 block of South Main is making progress and expects to take care of the front of the building when weather permits.
Approval was given for the Police Department to purchase equipment to search cell phones and other electronic devices in a short time. Currently, officers go through a time-consuming process of photographing each screen and transcribing information or sending the phone to a larger agency, resulting in a delay of six to 12 months in receiving information.
Capital equipment funds and drug forfeiture money will pay the $10,500 cost. Other costs, such as upgrades and training, will be budgeted.