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Clearing snowy sidewalks; how to avoid the city fee

Clear your sidewalks to avoid fees and hazards
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 12:05:18-05

OMAHA, NE — As snow continues to fall throughout the metro, residents continue to shovel their sidewalks and driveways to avoid fees and protect postal workers.

End of snow-removal operations and shoveling deadline announced

An ordinance in Omaha that was updated in 2019 charges residents that don't clear their sidewalks after snowfall based off of square footage and amount of snow. Estimated costs for residential homes could reach up to hundreds of dollars. This is something city officials addressed earlier this winter, hoping people would clear their sidewalks without having to get the city involved.

"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," Omaha city engineer Mike Kleffner said last November.

Clearing your sidewalks is important to the people that have to trek through them everyday. Corey Acklin has been an Omaha mail carrier with the United States Postal Service for the last six years.

"When we don't have to worry about ice, the speed and efficiency of our delivery is just that much greater," he said.

The efficiency is greater but so is safety. Delivering in icy and snowy conditions can be dangerous.

"I know of carriers who have twisted ankles, broken coccyx, things like that," Acklin said.

As snowfall continues throughout the week, keep an eye out for when it stops. Omaha home owners have 24 hours after the major streets are plowed to clear sidewalks.

The cities of Bellevue, Papillion and Council Bluffs have similar ordinances. In Bellevue, homeowners have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks after snowfall. If they are not cleared the city will leave a notice and then give another 24 hours to take care of the snow. After the notice the fees can range anywhere from $150 dollars up to $350 dollars.

Papillion gives homeowners five hours after snowfall to clear sidewalks and if the snowfall happened overnight, until 8:30am the next day. Fines will be assessed by the city after they have cleared the sidewalk.

Council Bluffs gives homeowners 24 hours after snowfall and the fines will also be assessed later on after the city's work.