February and March of 2019 were both busy and productive months for the City of Hamilton. Much of this work was accomplished by the city council, city employees, county officials, community partners, Hamilton Schools and the mayor.
Some of the highlights are as follows:
Citizenship Award: The mayor visited with the Hamilton School Board and Hamilton Christian Academy to pitch his “High School Student Citizenship Award.” The award will recognize high school students who are outstanding citizens with good character.
Some of the guidelines to assist with the student selection are: is considerate, helpful and respectful to others, has the courage to do what is right, accepts responsibility for their actions, volunteers time and service to members of the community, has a positive attitude and shows leadership qualities, understands and promotes civic responsibility in their school and the community. Students will be nominated by teachers, coaches or the school principal. The mayor will select three students to receive the awards, which will be presented in May 2019. Both schools were receptive to the idea and agreed to nominate students.
HHS Government Class: The mayor visited with two Hamilton High School 12th grade government classes. The students and mayor engaged in a stimulating dialogue concerning both sides of the issue of medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the city limits. (This is an actual issue currently being considered by the city council.) The mayor played moderator and presented both sides of the issue. The students in both classes were very engaged, asked questions, shared their thoughts and displayed maturity and respect in the lively discussions that ensued. The mayor encouraged the students to play an active role in municipal, county, state and federal government and encouraged them to register to vote upon turning 18.
Washington/Daly School Leprechaun visit: The mayor appeared at Washington and Daly Schools as a leprechaun and read poems and stories to the school children. The students were not fooled that the mayor was not a “real” leprechaun and they were not disappointed that the gold coins he passed out were not “real” … as they were chocolate. The mayor was impressed at how attentive and patient the children were (even while waiting for the candy) and attributes that to their parents and teachers.
February, March 2019 snowstorm: The large snowstorm began on Monday, Feb. 25. The snow accumulated very quickly and by early afternoon the mayor had declared a snow emergency and sent most city employees home before the roads became impassable.
The Hamilton Police Department called in a little extra help due to call volume, accidents and to get notifications out for moving vehicles in the designated routes identified by the snow emergency. The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department equipped their vehicles with chains and kept the access to the firetruck bays clear. They encouraged residents to keep their hydrants and gas meters cleared of snow.
The city, county and school district consulted to consider and declare school closures. The city and county agreed to communicate throughout the storm. City street crews worked until 8 p.m., plowing streets and emergency routes. The street crew returned to work at 4 a.m. on Tuesday to resume plowing. The city reopened at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 26. In the following weeks, the street department had two or three workers from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. (60-hour weeks). They ran plows, snowblowers, dump trucks and a loader. They loaded and removed snow as best as they could, but the large volume of snow and the expansiveness of the city created quite a challenge.
The city did not contract with private contractors, but some private property owners did. There were individuals, and groups who helped their neighbors remove snow. The Hamilton Christian Academy used one of their snow days as a service day to clear snow and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints formed shovel crews to help city residents in need. Jerry Wessels Les Schwab Tires also dispatched a crew to help dig folks out. Many youth groups and private individuals became better neighbors and helped each other get through the extreme winter weather by shoveling and digging out cars and fire hydrants. The snowstorm was certainly a challenge and the mayor believes that everyone did the best that they could under the circumstances… and we did eventually get through it all.
Spring Fling: On Wednesday, March 20 (the first day of spring) the mayor hosted a Spring Fling for the city employees to thank them for their efforts over the winter. Mark Brintnall, of Bitterroot Furniture, helped sponsor the event as he was grateful for the city street crews and wanted to thank them. The mayor served strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and cold Italian sodas. City staff enjoyed the food and the social hour.
The Hamilton City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The committee of the whole meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings are held at City Hall, 223 South 2nd St., in Hamilton. All meetings are open to the public.