Concerns about clear, visible fire hydrants were addressed at Monday night's West Fargo City Commission meeting, an item that was brought up due to the recent record snowfall amounts.
Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider told the commission that following the storm on Dec. 19, his office received a call from an individual in the Eagle Run area with concerns about fire hydrants that were covered with snow and unmarked.
Schatschneider said he assured the individual that crews would be getting to hydrant clean-up just as soon as they got caught up on snow removal.
He said the fire department takes extra precautions in situations where fire hydrants might be inaccessible, by taking a tanker truck along on fire runs so they always have water. If there is additional need, then they will also call on other fire departments to assist.
Public Works Director Barry Johnson said marking the hydrants is one thing, but hydrants still need to be cleared. "The best thing is if homeowners clear in front of their houses. If that doesn't work, we'll go around and start blowing them out."
Johnson added he is working on implementing some sort of 'adopt a hydrant' program were residents would not only clear the snow around the hydrant, but also accept responsibility for painting the hydrant if it is in front of their home.
City crews used to place flags on hydrants, but Johnson explained that kids would bend them down, and in some instances people were injured. There are also fence posts situated by some of the hydrants in Eagle Run.
On a related note, Mayor Rich Mattern said he had been receiving calls from people concerned about the visibility at intersections because of the increase in size of the snowbanks.
Johnson said crews had already begun hauling snow from bad site lines and would continue to work on that situation to get some of the snow moved out.
In other action, the commission:
-approved a motion to enter into a resolution of annexation with the city of West Fargo for a 296 acre parcel of land south of 52nd Avenue requested by property owners. City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said that since it was the property owners who made the request he didn't expect any protests. The action will be published two times, with the public hearing to be set for Feb. 16;
-approved the annual Mass Transit Agreement with Fargo to provide bus services to West Fargo. The contract reflects a ten percent increase over last year on the fixed route, and a five percent increase for the Handiwheels services. The amount in the 2009 budget should cover the cost of the increase;
-agreed to create the assessment district and authorize the city engineer to prepare the engineer's report of Storm Improvement District No. 4042, involving the proposed golf course area. Commissioner Mike Thorstad questioned if this action could wait since the future reality of the golf course is uncertain. City Engineer Kevin Bucholz said this action was a routine part of the design process outlining the assessment boundary and didn't bind the city to anything. On the vote, Thorstad voted against the motion, while other commissioners voted in favor.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.