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City proposes changes in snow-removal policy

July 21, 2004

City officials on Tuesday discussed changes to the city's sidewalk snow-removal policy. Below are some proposed remedies to problems that arose last year when officials began enforcing their rules:

Problem: A $100 administrative fee.

Fix: The administrative fee would be set at $60, less than the original fee, but more than the $25 fee officials set in February after reviewing the policy.

Problem: Some city sidewalks were not cleared before private property owners were charged for snow removal.

Fix: All city departments in charge of city-owned property would verify that sidewalks on their property are clear before the city engineer gives the go-ahead to start enforcing the rules on private property owners.

Problem: Some people were charged for snow clearing after city snowplows pushed snow back onto clear sidewalks.

Fix: City inspectors would assess situations where sidewalks are too close to streets to avoid the problem, and if they determine the sidewalk was clear before a plow pushed snow onto the sidewalk, the city won't impose fines.

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Problem: Some people did not know they were supposed to clear their sidewalks.

Fix: The city would post notices on property owners' doors that would say when the sidewalk needs to be cleared before city contractors do the job. The city will also post general information in advertisements.

Problem: High costs - as much as $285 per sidewalk - for snow removal and salt application.

Fix: The Engineering Department would invite more companies to bid on the contract with the hope of signing on a less-expensive contractor before Nov. 1.

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