Schuyler City Council members during a recently held meeting approved this year’s snow removal contract.

The council OK'd a plan allowing a local company, Midwest Service and Sales, to provide snow removal for areas of the town that cannot have snow easily pushed off to the side.

Mayor Jon Knutson said that the city does not have access to equipment that can remove snow from city streets; thus, outside help is needed.

“We don’t have the ability to blow the snow into large trucks,” Knutson said. “We windrow it into rows in our downtown area. It’s mainly for that.”

The process works like this: The city pushes the snow into rows that can be easily put into trucks by better equipment. Midwest has that specific equipment and goes through the streets of downtown removing the white stuff.

Knutson said that his team does a good job of plowing the streets on snow-swept days; however, the downtown area is problematic when the heavy stuff hits.

“Our guys do a great job of doing the snow with our equipment,” Knutson said. “It’s just that downtown, that’s how you get rid of it.”

Terry Scheuneman, president of Midwest Sales and Service, said that the relationship has been in place for more than a decade and that the two groups work well together.

“It’s been very good ever since the beginning,” Scheuneman said. “We work well with the city’s street department, the city council and the mayor. They tell us when to come in; normally, it’s about midnight when we come in and it takes four to six hours. We have a snowblower, engine-driven, (that) can load a 10-yard truck in about 10-15 seconds each.”

With a cold winter expected, Scheuneman is hoping that the chilly conditions will provide ample opportunities to clean up the streets of downtown Schuyler.

“We’re gearing up accordingly,” Scheuneman said.

It comes at a good time as the National Weather Service is forecasting the coldest air of the season Thursday and Friday nights in Nebraska, with the possibility of snow for the Panhandle and northern areas of the state. The temperature is expected to dip down into the 30s on Friday in Schuyler.

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In other city council happenings:

*The council reviewed a presentation regarding the status of flood stages on the Platte River. Knutson said this review came about due to disputes over the numbers that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been using to determine the flood stages.

“Fremont, of course, was the big complainer, since they are a much larger community,” Knutson said.

JEO helped the city with the study, which attempted to examine the Corps’ findings. The results came back to Knutson, JEO, Utility Director Jim McGowen and City Clerk Lora Johnson, where the results were said to be promising, but incomplete.

“What was told (to) the city council was that (they’re) not quite done with this work, but we have some promising figures that we will use when the state does an entire flow study of its own,” Knutson said. “We will be prepared with our own numbers.”

*The governing body approved plans for a bidding process regarding the demolition of buildings at 302 and 308 E. 12th St. Plans and specifications for the buildings were passed and bidding will go through the end of October.

*The council approved funding for radios for the Schuyler Police Department. Payments will begin in October 2020 with money coming from the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Knutson said the radios are much needed for the department, which has several other technology-related wants.

“They also have a need for new computers in their cars,” Knutson said. “The state has mandated automatic tickets. Our radios were obsolete, we were unable to communicate with other safety enforcement officials, (such as) fire. The range was not good, so we just took the step and upgraded it.”

*The council approved a payment of $267.50 to Optimal Health regarding promotional signs in downtown as part of a popular facade improvement program.

“Anytime we can assist businesses to improve their frontage, that’s a great idea,” Knutson said.

Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.