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January 16, 2013

Mayor apologizes for snow decision

By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer

Two weeks after snow blanketed the city, Mayor Kip Walby apologized for not declaring a snow emergency during the Christmas holiday.

“At the end of the day, I made the mistake,” he said Jan. 7. “I should have called a snow emergency. I do apologize for any inconvenience it caused.”

He partially explained the reason behind his decision, which included not wanting to have many out-of-town residents ticketed for failing to shovel their sidewalks or those with out-of-town guests ticketed for having vehicles in the street. But, he said it was “a mistake” not to call the emergency or declare a snow event after snow fell Dec. 24 and continued a few days later.

“I do understand the inconvenience it caused and it is my decision, solely my decision, and I assure you we’ll call it maybe a little earlier next time,” he said.

Council members said they were happy to hear that cleanup wouldn’t take so long next time.

“I was disappointed,” said Councilwoman Candice Rusie. “To have the plows go out a week after … the plows weren’t doing anything on the ice. I’m glad to hear we will do better next time.”

The city began plowing residential streets Jan. 2.

“We’re probably going to have the best snow service around after this,” said Councilman Peter Rubino.

Resident Tony Caleca said he was upset when he visited relatives’ homes in Harper Woods and found bare pavement, then came home to frozen ruts on his street, California.

“My street, California, never ever gets plowed,” he said. “I have ruts and ice, and it’s constant.”

Walby said all city streets are supposed to be plowed when a snow emergency is called, but it is a “misconception that we scrape to the cement.”

“We do not do that,” he said, adding that, “In most cases, we do not salt … the entire community,” either.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske at kdemske@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1041.