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Carlton County debates new driveway snow removal policy

Carlton County's private snow removal policy was debated during the Board of Commissioners meeting Monday, Nov. 26.

Commissioners Gary Peterson and Susan Zmyslony said they received calls from residents about the new private driveway snow removal policy implemented this year.

"There was a situation that tugged at my heartstrings," Zmyslony said of a call.

She said she had been contacted by a woman who hadn't realized she had missed the cutoff date to sign up for snow removal. Zmyslony said she worked with the resident to find an alternative solution.

"We sent out letters to everyone who had contracted with the county for the past five years," County Engineer Jin Yeene Neumann said. "We used to charge $25 to plow driveways, but we were losing money."

She explained that they looked at St. Louis County to use as a model for the new policy, including its pricing.

In the past, once a Carlton County resident signed up to have the county plow their driveway, they weren't required to renew each year. A letter was sent in July to previous contract holders and stated in bold print that all applicants must apply annually by Oct. 1 to receive snow removal services. The flat fee payment depends on the length of the driveway and is due at the same time the applicant applies.

For example, a driveway less than a quarter-mile long, the charge is $450 per season. For driveways a quarter-mile to half-mile long, the charge is $600.

Several policy change suggestions were made, such as allowing a late penalty fee for residents who missed the cutoff date but still want the service. Another suggestion was to discontinue the service for plowing private driveways because there is a wide selection of private plowing businesses in the area.

County and township roads are plowed before the drivers begin on private driveways.

No action was taken at the meeting.