MISSOULA – It’s going to cost you more now if you forget to shovel your sidewalks this winter after the Missoula City Council approved a controversial snow removal fee.
That fee will jump from $42 to $150 for those who don’t shovel their sidewalks after two warnings.
The change will impact a small number of people with roughly 30 actually charged for not shoveling their sidewalks last winter.
The city will be hiring a private contractor to shovel the unmoved snow rather than sending a city employee. There are currently three options for private contractors, but a decision has not been made on who will take over.
There was limited public comment at Monday evening’s meeting, but city council members discussed the issue amongst themselves.
“I have a lot of seniors in Ward 3. There are people with mobility issues and shoveled sidewalks that are clear make it a lot easier for everybody so there isn’t broken hip or an ankle,” Councilwoman Gwen Jones said.
“There are some streets in the city of Missoula that don’t get plowed for seven days — if ever — because of prioritization and various other things,” Councilman Jesse Ramos said.
“I think it’s somewhat hypocritical of use to require by law folks have their sidewalks shoveled by 9 a.m. and if they don’t, after a couple of violations they’ll be fined. For a lot of folks that rubs them the wrong way,” he added.
Another part of the approval was actually lowering the fee for hazardous vegetation — weeds on sidewalks — from $361 to $150.