Village officials warned property owners last month that if they didn’t shovel the snow on their sidewalks within 24 hours, the village would do it for them and send the bill. That’s just what happened on Jan. 28-29 following a snowfall of several inches on Jan. 25.
“We didn’t want to do this,” said village building code officer Eyal Saad. “It took work crews hours to do this when they could have been doing other jobs, and the guys didn’t want to be out there doing it.”
Over the course of the two days, workers from the village Department of Public Works, Parks, Buildings and Grounds, and Water Department shoveled the sidewalks of 38 properties whose owners had not shoveled their sidewalks.
On Jan. 30-31, bills totaling several thousand dollars went out. They ranged from a low of $47 to a high of $137 with most running in the $90 to $110 range. If a property owner fails to pay, the village will place a lien on their property taxes.
“This is the first time this winter that we did this,” Saad said, who said the village received numerous complaints of unshoveled sidewalks from neighbors. “Up to this point all we have done was send out warning letters, but it’s become a major problem, and this time I waited 48 hours before going out and making a list even though village law says 24 hours.”
Snow on sidewalks creates a hazard, said Saad. Pedestrians can slip and fall and property owners are liable.
Saad said the village received “a number of complaints” from neighbors.
One of the driving reasons behind this recent enforcement action, he explained, “was the number of complaints we received from people about their neighbors not shoveling their sidewalks.”
There wasn’t any one particular area of the village that stood out, Saad said. “It was pretty much all over the village.”
Workers also tried to work with the property owners, Saad said. “If they were home and saw us out there shoveling and came out to help, we did not charge them.”
With more snowstorms predicted for this weekend, Feb. 9 and six more weeks of winter, Saad said he will be out there again making his list, hoping that property owners get the message and shovel their sidewalks.
“Our law was created as a deterrent, maybe now people will get the message,” Saad added.