MISSOULA – There are still some details to be worked out but the Missoula City Council is moving to trim the cost of clearing snow off problem sidewalks — taking the step in response to public complaints.
The council’s Public Works Committee recommended last week that the city adopt a set of “amended” fees for removing snow where the property owner repeatedly hasn’t, tripling the administrative fee and hiking one of the “per hour” fees to more than $300.
That decision prompted a backlash, and on Monday evening council members announced a plan to ask for new proposals from private contractors which would dramatically cut those fees.
Council members tried to explain they never intended to overcharge “grandma and grandpa”, but to get tougher on out-of-state property owners who ignore snow removal.
“And we’re putting it back out to bid in the hopes that Missoula [Public] Works will bid on it. If they do, their rates are $30 for a half hour for two folks to go out and shovel. And I feel like that’s extremely reasonable,” City Councilwoman Julie Armstrong said.
“This is about repeat offenders who are typically out-of-state absentee landowners who have rentals or other property uses that are not abiding by a community contract that we have. Which is that we are good neighbors and we shovel our walks and we take care of each other,” added Missoula Councilman Jordan Hess.
The Missoula City Council has scheduled a full public hearing to discuss the snow removal rules for December 17.