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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Council may decide meeting time next month

Friday, January 25, 2013

The time of day for a budget workshop next Tuesday may be a test of interest in a change in the time the Le Mars City Council meets.

That's the view Councilwoman Delana Ihrke expressed this week when the time of day for council meetings was discussed.

"We have a 4 p.m. meeting next week so if we have a packed house maybe that will tell us something," Ihrke said.

Le Mars City Council's regular meetings are at noon.

The 4-7 p.m. meeting Tuesday is a budget workshop.

Council members asked the public to contact them with ideas when the time of day the council meets was discussed at the request of councilman John Leonard on Jan. 8.

Larry Schmitz, of Le Mars, sent an email about the meeting time to the mayor and council.

Schmitz, a retired KLEM Radio News Director, covered council meetings for more than 40 years.

His email said he found that citizen attendance and participation in meetings depend on the issues at hand, not the time of day.

"City Administrator Scott Langel was right when he advised the council to leave the meeting start time at noon and allow for late afternoon or evening meetings when, and if, there was a special reason for doing so," Schmitz email stated.

Ihrke said she had heard from one person in favor of a 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. for council meetings and another person who arranged to be at meetings over the lunch hour.

Leonard and Councilman John Rexwinkel both said they had received the comments Ihrke had.

"Let's get some more input from the public," Rexwinkel suggested during discussion at Tuesday's council meeting.

Leonard said there was no need to rush to a decision.

"I brought it up just to give us time to figure out if we're doing it right the way we're doing it," he said.

The council had earlier suggested a decision would be made in February, Langel said.

Council members Tuesday decided to ask additional public input about the time of day the council meetings will begin.

Safety-related issues were also discussed by the council this week.

The discussion followed recent snowfall.

"Some private contractors moving snow may need to be asked not to pile it near intersections and in front of stop signs," Leonard said. "It could be an accident waiting to happen."

Ihrke asked about a reminder of city requirements for snow removal on residential sidewalks.

"Within 48 hours you have to have your sidewalks cleared," she said.

Rexwinkel added that city streets are not the proper place to dispose of snow from sidewalks and driveways.

Councilman Ken Nelson also said snowmobiles are not to be on private property.

Safety of people walking was a concern also mentioned at Tuesday's meeting.

Earl Draayer, airport manager, spoke to the council about the way people are walking in southwest Le Mars and specifically Holton Drive, which is near the airport.

"I see people walking with traffic," Draayer said. "It's a dangerous situation -- people can protect themselves a lot better by walking facing traffic."

Notices from the city have been sent to property owners on Holton Drive who don't already have sidewalks to install them by a deadline of next summer, according to Jason Vacura, code enforcement officer.

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