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IM could look to add more plow drivers

IRON MOUNTAIN — With Public Works Director Scott Thomas taking a turn driving snowplow this past weekend, the city will consider adding part-time personnel but has no plans to hire a new full-time employee.

Mayor Dale Alessandrini suggested Monday adding a full-time worker, prompting City Manager Jordan Stanchina to lament the city’s lack of “a magic money tree.”

Council member Bill Revord said the city might look to retirees interested in part-time work.

Stanchina said that could be viable, but the union contract with public works employees would have to be reviewed as well. “Twelve-inch snowstorms are pretty unusual for us,” he added.

Stanchina pointed out local schools were able to open after a two-hour delay Monday while some others in the Upper Peninsula were closed.

Several council members, including Alessandrini, complimented city crews on their response to the storm. The mayor, however, also mentioned receiving weekend calls about streets going unplowed.

“A big job and well done,” Revord said.

In other action, the council:

— Will seek proposals from engineering firms to oversee street improvements planned in 2020 with assistance from a federal Small Urban Program funding. The estimated work totals $344,000, with $275,000 in grant funds. The city will provide a $69,000 local match, plus the engineering fees. Recent projects have come in at higher costs than first estimated, Stanchina noted.

The resurfacing work includes North Kimberly Avenue from Main Street about 1,680 feet to the south and west; Prospect Avenue from Ludington to West B streets, along with some curb replacement; Hughitt Street from Carpenter to Kimberly avenues; and West A Street from Carpenter to Prospect avenues, with curb replacement. The job also includes 17 Americans With Disabilities Act ramp installations.

— Scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. Dec. 16 on a Community Development Block Grant application for a rental rehabilitation at 323 S. Stephenson Ave. The project totals $541,265, aided by a state grant of $255,065. All expenses not covered by the grant will be the responsibility of the property owner. Menominee Range Investments LLC, represented by Jesse Land, plans to build four apartments in the upstairs of the downtown building. The city had agreed this summer to pursue the grant.

— Advised that consultant Beckett and Raider will soon post a community survey on the city’s website to assist in updating its Master Plan. More information is available at ironmountainmasterplan.org.

— Learned that 12 deer have been harvested so far under the city’s managed archery hunt, compared with 38 at this time last year. Baiting is banned this year under the state’s efforts to curb chronic wasting disease.

— Reappointed Kathy Anderson to the Iron Mountain Tree Board.

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