Making City Safety a Priority

This past weekend, the City of Everett and the entire Northeast experienced a winter storm of historic proportions.

While our snow removal crews did an admirable job preparing equipment, training crews, stockpiling materials and removing snow to make our streets safe and passable, they did not have all the tools they could have. Last fall, before a single snowflake fell, I proposed the purchase of two new, heavy-duty sidewalk plows that would be used to remove snow not only from our main arteries, but from residential neighborhoods as well. The funds to be used originated from a City account from the sale of old real estate – money already in the hands of the City and not additional taxes.

What the administration sought was simple transfer of funds to purchase this necessary winter equipment.  The new sidewalk plows would have greatly assisted in clean up efforts during the storm, and also saved the City money by avoiding the need to hire additional outside contractors.

However, the item was placed into committee for further study.  As a matter of course, I do not disagree with the gathering of information. I do however, disagree with the long amount of time taken to call a committee meeting and make a decision.  Now that the Finance Committee Meeting has been called, I urge the City Council to pass this item without further delay.  This is an important purchase that will provide immeasurable value to our residents and neighborhoods, and needs to be voted on immediately.  This is not a political issue or one that should be thought of lightly – it is one of public safety and vital importance.

We can all see the conditions of our sidewalks and parks – the hardworking snow crews worked countless hours to push back nearly thirty inches of snow. If they had these key pieces of equipment, we would be able to clear more sidewalks, make more paths and provide a safe and secure way to travel to work and school. I appreciate the efforts of our neighbors across the City who take it upon themselves to clear the areas in front of their homes, yet we are still burdened by areas that are impassable, forcing people and children to walk dangerously in crowded streets. Our City, by its very nature of being one of the most densely populated cities in the country is faced with special challenges and needs to come together during times like these to make a community, not only a city.  In addition to approving the transfer that will allow us to purchase the much needed sidewalk plows, I call upon the City Council to again take up a snow-shoveling ordinance that would allow the City of Everett to enforce against those that disregard the need to make our sidewalks clear and passable. Without a comprehensive snow shoveling ordinance, we fall behind neighboring cities and towns who already make such reasonable requirements within their borders.

The winter isn’t over. The City Council still has time to transfer the necessary funds for the sidewalk plows, as well as take up the cause of a snow shoveling ordinance.  In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to at the job before us – ensuring that our neighbors, school children and seniors have a safe and passable City to walk.

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