The Menahga City Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) have partnered to clear snow along State Hwy. 87 and U.S. Hwy. 71.

The council signed an informal bid for services agreement for the 2019-20 winter season.

“I basically discovered – because we’re at the intersection of three different MnDOT maintenance districts – that we’ve just been forgotten by all three of them,” reported City Administrator Curt Kreklau at the Feb. 7 special meeting. “Typically, they have arrangements with all municipalities.”

Within city limits, MnDOT assumes responsibility for snow and ice control for the center 24 feet of the highways. The city is responsible for removing snow and ice from parking lanes.

According to a letter from MnDOT, “Because MnDOT snow plows push snow from the driving lanes of the roadway into the parking lanes, MnDOT is willing to partner with the city by covering the cost of loading the snow being removed from the parking lanes.”

Kreklau explained the city and MnDOT can coordinate staff and equipment, with MnDOT provider a loader with an operator to load snow. The city would provide trucks with operators to haul and dispose of the snow.

Another option is for the city to perform all snow removal and MnDOT would reimburse the city (at $130 per hour) for the time it takes to load snow into city trucks.

Finally, the city can hire a contractor to perform snow removal. Again, MnDOT only pays the city for loading snow.

The city must obtain prior authorization from MnDOT before loading costs are incurred for each snow removal. Failure to get approval could result in non-payment.

In all cases, the city pays for all hauling and snow disposal costs.

The council unanimously approved the agreement.

“At least Menahga is now a participant, which we’ve never been before,” Kreklau said, adding that MnDOT crews were “blowing snow like crazy” last week in Verndale and Wadena. “We’re going to get our turn.”

In related business, the council authorized Public Works Director Ron Yliniemi and Kreklau to bid up to $49,000 on a 2006 Freightliner heavy duty truck listed on minnbid.org.

The motion passed 4-1, with Mayor Joan Liimatta opposed. She expressed concern about spending money, and possibly reserves.

Kreklau said impetus for the special meeting was the fact the city lacks the capability to haul snow with its two grain trucks. The city’s snow plow truck broke down two weeks ago, he added, and that was two days before an anticipated snow event.

If the city successfully bids on the truck, Yliniemi said one or both of the older trucks could be sold.