Study Session Report: Winter Sidewalk and Summer Turf Maintenance


Study Session Report: Winter Sidewalk and Summer Turf Maintenance

The City of Brighton’s Department of Public Works (DPW) has a number of seasonal responsibilities including snow removal in the winter months and lawn maintenance during the summer.  At the June 15, 2017, City Council Study Session, staff sought Council’s input regarding expectations for winter sidewalk and summer turf maintenance.  Council was open to making changes that improve efficiency and safety.

DPW staff reported that several issues occur while clearing City sidewalks, such as excessive overtime costs and crew fatigue.  Since clearing sidewalks is an immediate priority after roads are cleared, the work is often done during overtime hours and crews are working extended shifts. Staff recommended rethinking the priority status of sidewalk maintenance during snow events.  The current ordinance designates the property owner as the responsible party for maintaining the sidewalks, however, the City has been clearing sidewalks borne within the downtown and Grand River Avenue as a service for the last several years.  In the search for cost savings and more efficient service delivery, Council asked DPW staff to provide additional information into what it would mean to only do sidewalks during normal crew hours and/or limiting the number of times the crew clears sidewalks during a single snow event.  Doing so would allow staff to work shorter shifts improving worker safety and reemphasize the responsibility of the property owner to clear sidewalks.

There was also a short discussion on lawn maintenance.  Currently, individuals from four crews maintain the grass on City properties.  DPW staff recommended consolidating this responsibility in order to reduce the number of mowers, save time, and utilize part-time employees differently.  Council also discussed several properties maintained by the City and which ones could be left to grow wild to save time and money.

Council directed DPW staff to look into sidewalk and lawn maintenance and come back with additional details regarding the proposed changes.  Council was open to the proposed changes in light of the benefits that they could provide for cost savings, safety, and more efficient work plans.