(Columbus) Columbus residents may soon see an increase in snow removal costs for those who fail to maintain their sidewalks. Zach Navin of the Columbus Department of Public Works told city officials in committee this month that, in the past, the city has not charged enough to cover costs. Navin says the city is out of date in the fees they charge acting more as a cheap snow removal service within the city.
Currently residents are given 24-hour notice to clear snowy sidewalks before a DPW crew is dispatched, and the homeowner is assessed a $50 fee. Proposed changes include charging an initial fee of $100 on the first occurrence with an increase of $25 or $50 for each additional infraction. Residents could also see an additional cost per-linear-foot of sidewalk for properties with larger sidewalk segments.
Alderwoman Trina Reid expressed concerns that the rising costs could have on residents who may have trouble clearing their sidewalks in a timely fashion. Reid says she agrees costs need to be covered, but she does’t want to punish people who may be working multiple jobs, that may health problems, or who may be out of town. She says she is however in favor of incremental increases for those identified as habitual offenders.
Alderman Ian Gray echoed Reid’s concerns but says that, above all, proper and timely snow removal is an ordinance and the fees should reflect that offenders are being penalized. Gray asked the council to keep in mind that this is not a service provided by the city but is instead a responsibility of the individual property owner. He says the city should charge at a minimum the costs incurred, but also having incremental increases as well as charges per linear foot is more than justifiable.
A more finalized proposal is scheduled to come before the Columbus City Council during the first meeting of December. If adopted, the change could go into effect immediately.