Jamestown City Council on Monday approved a shared services agreement with Jamestown Public Schools to provide additional sidewalk snow removal.
The deal with the school district, which covers the next four years, is expected to cost the city about $675,000. The resolution was filed in June due to concerns about the cost on the city side. However, while the city has not determined whether the two positions will be part-time or full-time, the city council has voted to move forward with the deal.
“The shared services agreement has no specific requirement on how we will employ people to clear sidewalks,” said Mayor Eddie Sundquist. “As a city, we will be clearing these sidewalks primarily in a two-person shift that will normally run from about 4 a.m. to about noon each day.”
The mayor said the city was still in discussions with the union about how the staffing would work for the supplemental plowing agreement with the school district.
“We are still working with the union to determine how we will manage staff power for this,” Sunquist said, “whether it’s a seasonal position, a part-time position or a full-time position.
The mayor said there are several factors to consider with the current labor market.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to get as we start to get closer,” he said.
Although the details of the deal are still being worked out, the city wanted to provide Jamestown Public Schools with a deal that would allow them to purchase the equipment in time for the winter season.
“In an effort to allow schools to move forward and start purchasing equipment, this is an agreement that we want to put in place fairly quickly. Sundquist said.
Sundquist said the city’s agreement with the school district is actually not something new.
“The city has always cleared the roads to schools,” he said. “There’s always been a process for that.”
While the city has plowed sidewalks near schools in the past, Sundquist said it hasn’t been the city’s top priority under previous plans.
“We’ve been doing it for quite a long time, but it was always kind of the last thing we did after a snowstorm,” he said. “The main responsibility for us has always been roads, and then we already had a plan with the school district to plow some roads.”
Dr. Kevin Whitaker, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, asked the city council in June to consider an agreement with the school that would increase student safety when walking to school in winter.
“We are ready to do the U-turns, as they say, to do our part from an equipment point of view, and then I hope you can support student safety and keep schools open as we desperately have. need after the pandemic”, he said.
Along with the city’s efforts to increase public safety for pedestrians as part of the city’s Vision Zero policy, the city is also committed to improving the safety of students walking to school. City officials expect the shared services agreement with the school district to help with this public safety effort.
“We have now updated this plan so that we know where the children come from in each school,” Sundquist said. “We have adjusted the routes we have. Under the shared service agreement, the school district will provide us with equipment and the city will provide individuals or employees to plow the areas they have identified under this updated plan.