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Snowy Sidewalk Complaints Have Doubled

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
Edgar Linares moved to the Twin Cities 24 hours before the largest...
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By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Keeping your sidewalk packed with snow could cost you a wad of cash.

“What we can do is write you a citation,” said Dan Bauer, Minneapolis supervisor of sidewalk inspections.

Bauer has three sidewalk inspectors and they’ve been busy with complaints of snowy sidewalks.

“Currently we’ve responded to about 1,200 complaints this year,” said Bauer. That’s double the amount of complaints the city hears on an average year.

The sidewalk shoveling ordinance in Minneapolis states property owners with single family homes or duplexes, have 24 hours to remove the snow off the sidewalk once snow stops falling. For commercial property owners, sidewalks must be shoveled within four hours during daylight time.

“After our historic snowfall we suspended our normal inspection and enforcement activities for three or four days,” said Bauer. “Currently we’re back to our regular inspections and enforcement activities.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

But before the city issues a citation or fine inspectors will send out a warning letter to sidewalk offenders. Bauer says usually that’s enough to get most people to clear off their walkways.

If the sidewalk is still not shoveled then a work order is issued to the Public Works Street Department and that’s when charges start to pile up.

“They have crews that come out to do sidewalk snow shoveling. A bill is then sent to the property owner and if the property owner doesn’t pay, the cost of that bill will be assessed against their property tax,” said Bauer.

The cities bill to clean up your sidewalk could be $90 to $150. Bauer says they could also issue an additional citation of $102. Bauer says that’s usually for repeat offenders and he doesn’t commonly write tickets.

The ordinance states sidewalks should be shoveled to their full width and down to the pavement.

“I understand there are some circumstances where that’s not possible,” said Bauer.

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