Residents along the recently improved portion of Cedar Falls Road won’t have to worry about having to clear the mile long, 10-foot wide multipurpose trail that runs in front of their homes.
On a 6-3 vote of 6-3, the Menomonie City Council has approved snow removal from the trail — for this season, at least. The decision will be reviewed on an annual basis.
The council had not taken action about winter maintenance of the new trail, but waited to get the citizens’ reaction to the trail and find out how much use it has been getting.
During public comments, Jeff Luther said the snow removal was an economic burden on the homeowners. Some council members sided with the residents who want the city to handle the snow removal, given that the trail is double the width of a sidewalk. Others, however, felt it was the residents’ responsibility. Approving snow removal were Hector Cruz, Lynn Dickmann, Andrew Mercil, Lee Schwebs, Ed Smith and Mary Solberg, with opposition coming from Susan Beety, Leslie Brown and Paul Riedel.
Public Works Director Randy Eide said the cost — including time, manpower and machine — will be about $500 per snowfall.
The council approved a special weapons and tactics team (SWAT) agreement that runs through Jan. 1, 2014. The agreement provides officers for a regional SWAT team.
Dunn County is a member of the combination unit and has a mutual aid agreement. Since 2010, the city has a similar agreement with Dunn County and UW-Stout police agencies to provide joint police powers.
Four Menomonie Police officers will serve on the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, which has between 20 and 22 members who come from the Eau Claire and Dunn County sheriff’s departments, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Altoona and Fall Creek police departments.
Police Chief Eric Atkinson said combining forces allows for a larger, more effective SWAT team, and at a reduced cost: “We’ll have an excellent response time — and we’ll provide good service.”
In other action
• Rebecca Kralewski of the Menomonie Housing Authority presented the annual payment in lieu of taxes to the City Council. The administration included $37,000 in the 2013 budget.
• The council approved Mayor Randy Knaack’s recommendation of former councilman Jason Hausler to fill the vacancy on the Urban Forestry Board created by the passing of long-time board member Alta Vasey Morgan.
• Eric Turner, the new Dunn County Economic Development executive director, introduced himself and thanked the council for the opportunity to serve.