City commission holds combined meeting with SGA, continues snow removal discussion


Mount Pleasant City Commission members speak at the Student Government Association meeting on Oct. 29 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

City Commissioner Will Joseph described the special Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting on Oct. 29 as “nostalgic,” as the former Student Government Association member peered over attendants gathered on the third floor of the Bovee University Center Auditorium. 

SGA and Mount Pleasant City Commission held a combined meeting at 7 p.m. Oct 29 on the campus of Central Michigan University to expose SGA members to the format of a local government meeting.

City commission held a brief meeting with a shortened agenda before SGA split up into their factional meetings. While SGA groups met, the Commission had work session about a snow removal ordinance.

The lack of agenda topics gave a handful of students, like graduate student Jonathan Korpi, a chance to express their thoughts and concerns to the commission, regarding Central Michigan University and the city. 

Korpi told the commission he has doubts about the use of an amphitheater, which the city plans to build, and would like to see something done about the lack of lighting between CMU’s campus and downtown.

“I don’t want answers,” Korpi said before the commission could address his comments. “My field of study is research, and I can do my own."

Before public input, SGA President Jake Hendricks had the opportunity to ask Joseph about his time as an SGA member. 

The commissioner went on to thank SGA for their service to CMU and the Mount Pleasant community by playing a part in combating national issues, like sexual assault and college tuition.

“There are a lot of issues that the student body is looking up to (SGA) to address,” Joseph said.

The commission then held a work session to continue a discussion about snow and ice removal, which was left unresolved at an Oct. 8 meeting.

The proposed snow removal ordinance is meant to provide clarity as to how residential and commercial properties are defined and it would require residents to clear snow from sidewalks within 48 hours after snowfall ceases.  

It would also give the City the ability to administer a municipal civil infraction to violators and grant permission to clear the snow from a portion of cited sidewalk at the cost of the homeowner. 

Since their last discussion, Commissioner Kathleen Ling did research on other cities snow removal policies and she said found arguments for both having community members clear their own sidewalks and paying the city to plow them. 

Commissioners Lori Gillis and Ling worked together to suggest a resolution that would utilize "seasonal workers" to plow sidewalks in the city’s 13 miles of school routes and high traffic areas.

The two commissioners expressed that windrows — the heaps of snow thrown over curbs by city plows — are the biggest problems to walkers and sidewalk shovelers.  

Gillis said she has never been able to lift the heavy compact snow or “snowplow throw-up,” because it is mixed with leaves and dirt. 

One problem with this resolution is the city might not want seasonal workers running $140,000 equipment, said Nancy Ridley, city manager. There would be a learning curve, she said. 

Before the city moves forward with a decision, a rough estimate of costs must be gathered, Ridley said. 

Mayor Allison Quast-Lents added it may be hard to find funds for sidewalk removal. 

However, Gillis disagreed, saying there is not enough snowfall in Mount Pleasant to have a problem finding funds.  

Police Chief Paul Lauria supported her claim by saying there were only five major snowfalls in 2017. 

“It is 10 ‘til 10, and I’m leaving at 10(p.m.),” Commissioner Tony Kulick said, expressing that the discussion was being drawn out. 

After public input and opposition to the proposed ordinance, the commission agreed to once again postpone a definitive decision on the ordinance.