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Snow removal for residents to end
The City of Elgin will likely halt snow removal services for elderly and disabled residents.
That was the consensus of the Elgin City Council at a Tuesday work session.
Councilors said the snow removal program puts too much liability on the city and opens the municipality to lawsuits.
“There’s just not a win here,” said Councilor Allan Duffy.
Duffy said making a list of elderly and disabled residents opens the city up to a discrimination suit. The medical element, councilors agreed, is also a tough issue because they cannot legally ask for a person’s medical information. They can only request a doctor’s note, which is easy to do and could result in every resident wanting snow removed from their driveway.
The city has removed snow for some residents for decades. Councilors could not recall a time when the city didn’t do it, but when Pro-Tem Administrator Laird Allen raised liability issues at a previous meeting the council decided to look into it.
During a special session prior to the work session the council voted down entering a contract for its summer reading program coordinator. Allen suggested the position, and other seasonal workers, be moved from part-time employee status to independent contractors. Allen said the move would protect the city from liabilities that come with employment, like wage restrictions and worker’s compensation.
Councilor Dick Miller, in citing a document from the IRS, said he wasn’t sure the coordinator would qualify under the IRS’ rules for an independent contractor. The council opted to table the matter until its next meeting.
During their work session, city councilors and Allen continued working on internal policies, many of which could not be found in writing once Allen was appointed to the position in November. Some of the changes discussed include moving the city’s ordinance book to an online service, implementing an official council mission statement and finishing numerous forms for internal use.