If you have a complaint, he welcomes your call, even during business hours.

    City of Crookston Public Works Director Pat Kelly knows that it comes with the territory: When the snow starts to fly every winter and a little bit of ice accumulates on the steet, some citizens and maybe even some city officials are going to wonder if his crews are doing a good enough shop keeping the streets clear of snow, and keeping a fresh layer of sand on the icy spots.

    But, when City Council Member Dana Johnson recently passed along a citizen complaint about ice at the bottom of the North Front Street hill at its intersection with West Sixth Street, it gave Kelly a chance to defend his staff, and also suggest that motorists might need to slow down a bit, be a little more patient, and maybe even alter their morning commute route by a block or two if it means they can avoid a potentially slick hill.

    Kelly, reminding everyone that the city has only one sanding truck, told Johnson that he, too, had received more than one complaint from the same citizen that had contacted her. But the complaints were left in the form of voice-mail messages left for him after hours, Kelly said.

    “I guess I can do without the after-hours sarcastic remarks,” he said. “People are more than welcome to call me during work hours so we can actually talk to each other.”

    When it comes to snow and ice on the city’s streets, Kelly said a little common sense exercised by motorists usually goes a long way.

    “You could pretty easily avoid a hill like North Front by going a block or two away to Pine or Birch, where there is no hill,” he said. “The guys get out there as fast as they can, but people need to realize that it’s not going to be instant, it’s not  going to be immediate. We’re not going to be magically everywhere at once right away.”