Janesville20.6°

Shoveling policy being studied again

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
March 12, 2011
— Janesville city staff said recent changes to policies addressing unshoveled private sidewalks worked well this year and is recommending no changes.

Two council members, Frank Perrotto and Bill Truman, asked that the council review more aggressive policies.


State statutes require that the city clear sidewalks of snow and ice when property owners fail to do so.


The city responds to unshoveled walks on a complaint basis. Then, an employee inspects the address and also reviews other nearby properties for compliance.


A notice is left at the property, directing the owner to correct the violation within 24 hours. Direct contact with the property owner also is attempted.


After 24 hours, a city crew or a private contractor hired by the city clears the sidewalk.


The minimum bill to the property owner is $127.


The current procedures were implemented last year when the council wanted to shorten the time given to property owners before the city shovels the walk.


The changes were successful in that the response time to gain compliance was reduced, said John Whitcomb, operations director.


The city could get tougher in its policies. For instance, it could proactively inspect sidewalks, and it could issue citations. It also could charge reinspection fees for those properties that have numerous violations in a season.


The council might also discuss increasing fines or more aggressive enforcement when residents leave their vehicles in the streets during snow emergencies.


ON THE AGENDA

The Janesville City council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. Council members will be available at 6 p.m. for those who want to informally meet with them.


Items on the agenda include:


-- Action on a proposed lease with the American Legion Baseball volunteer group to operate a portion of Riverside Park. The city eliminated a park maintenance worker position in the 2011 budget that impacted upkeep at Veterans Field, which the legion uses for its games. Under the agreement, the city would continue mowing the grass while the legion would pay utilities and maintain the field. The legion would be allowed to use city-owned equipment to maintain the field but would pay for supplies.


-- A public hearing on the city's 2011 street projects, including curb and gutter, street resurfacing and sidewalk. Major projects include the reconstruction of South Pearl Street between West Court Street and Rockport Road; a water main along Black Bridge Road, $1.13 million; and the parking lot at Palmer Drive and Camden Park, $150,000. About 5.2 miles of street rehabilitation and 3.6 miles of final street surface built in 2007 and 2008 will cost $871,000.



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