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Sidewalk plowing called safe for now

Published 8:00am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

City officials Monday night addressed a letter to the editor published Thursday in the Daily News raising the question of whether Dowagiac would save on plowing service by requiring residents to shovel their own sidewalks free of snow.

“To my knowledge, there isn’t any such legislation,” Third Ward Councilman Dr. Charles Burling said. “I wanted to make sure I’m not the only one who knew that.”
“We’re plowing sidewalks every time it snows,” City Manager Kevin Anderson assured him.

“I would note, however,” Mayor Don Lyons commented, “that Elkhart and South Bend,” Ind., “have ordinances which require citizens to maintain their sidewalks in the wintertime, with a $25 fine in place if they do not do that.

“Kevin and I have talked about a wide variety of cost-saving issues – plowing sidewalks being one of them – but I think the decision was made that’s viewed as a valuable resource by our citizens and it’s one we anticipate continuing as long as we’re financially able.”

Burling also commented he felt “surprised” City Hall did not close during 33-year firefighter Lt. Don Coy’s funeral Thursday.

“He typified small-town America. We’re going to really miss that guy – especially at the (new) fire station. He did an enormous amount of work out there to put that together.”
Burling also indicated that his call about leaf removal was among some 200 misdirected to Chestnut Street without response.

“I believe that has been corrected since we became aware of the problem,” Anderson said.

Burling also inquired, given Water Superintendent Kevin Cox’s back surgery, whether Dowagiac should be in the same posture as Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, where he chairs the board.

“We look for surgeons two to three years before we actually need them,” Burling said.
“That was a central provision when we worked on contracts with the union,” Anderson said, “was trying to get additional people trained and certified. There was compensation placed in that contract for that very thing. We’ll know here in the next month to month and a half because we’re getting at that point where people need to sign up for those tests.
“We’ll find out in a hurry now who will be willing to step up because, obviously, licensing is important. We’re not restricting the amount of licenses we pay for, so there is opportunity,” Anderson said. “It’s a great opportunity,” Burling said.

“I know it’s a concern Kevin has because there aren’t a lot of people out there” with his qualifications.

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