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City to fine residents less to remove snow from sidewalks

Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 19:19:31-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Typically city contractors would be forced to remove snow from a few Omaha sidewalks every winter, with the snowfall we saw last year, they had over 300 removals.

"Until last year there really wasn't a major problem,” says Mike Kleffner, engineer with the city of Omaha.

On top of the city workload, there were other issues. Some residents were fined over a thousand dollars to have their sidewalks cleared.

This year it should be better, with the bids coming in at half to a third of the cost, but it's still pricey.

If there's one to six inches on the ground, they'll be charged just over $3 per sq. ft., if there’s six to 12 inces, it’ll go up to $4.60 sq. ft. and if it snows over one foot, it be $6.90 per sq. ft.

City engineer Mike Kleffner hopes they charge people as little as possible.

"This isn't something we want to do, this is completely complaint based. My staff would rather be doing a lot of other things than babysitting somebody clearing snow,” says Kleffner.

As Kleffner mentions it's a complaint based system, once the city gets a complaint, they give a 24 hour warning and then a few days later they send the contractor out.

Neighbors can't file complaints until the plows are done throughout the city.

"We will make an effort to communicate with the public to at least let them know that that is when the clock starts ticking,” says Bob Stubbe, Omaha Public Works Director.

So after it snows and you're out walking your neighborhood and maybe you realize your neighbor still hasn't shoveled. Once Omaha city council-member hopes you first knock on their door before complaining to the city.

"I would just encourage people to, maybe before you make the city the first call, check on your neighbor, we are a nice city and maybe see if your city needs a little help,” says council-member Aimee Melton.