It will be all hands on deck next week when Minot's Public Works Department turns its full focus to mowing city-owned lots.
The department plans to pull workers from patching, street sweeping and other activities to concentrate all personnel on getting the entire river bottom area mowed, Public Works Director Dan Jonasson told the Minot City Council Wednesday. The hope is to get work started by Tuesday.
Jonasson said his department has fallen behind in mowing because it lacks manpower.
City workers mow and trim around a compost site on 16th Avenue Southwest Wednesday.
A city worker trims overgrowth around trees on city property at the intersection of 16th Avenue and 16th Street Southwest Wednesday.
"We have a limited amount of staff," he said. "We are trying to address it as well as we can with the staff that we have."
Minot resident Gary Panasuk raised the issue of mowing at the council meeting, indicating that neighborhood complaints aren't being addressed.
"I walk the dikes every day," he said. "There's lots there that have not been mowed since the flood."
Only recently did a call to council member Miranda Schuler finally result in some action on weeds on Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way, he said.
Schuler said the railroad also faces similar employee issues when it comes to maintaining property. However, the weed issues are serious, she said.
"The thistle and leafy spurge there is pretty aggressive, especially along the river," she said.
Panasuk said weeds from unmaintained city lots are spreading to neighbors.
"We have to spray, and we shouldn't have to put up with this," he said. "You should take a little pride in your city, take a little pride in the river bottom."
Jonasson noted the city has hundreds of lots to maintain since acquiring property for future flood protection, as many miles of river bottom, but only six employees to regularly do the work.
Jonasson said the city has looked to the Ward County Weed Board to provide weed spraying. The board has not been able to free up staff to provide the service lately, and the city doesn't have personnel certified to spray. To catch up, he said, the city would have to hire the work done.