By Jessica Mathews /

Invoices will be going out to property owners in the City of Howell who failed to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice after last week’s big storm.

The City of Howell has an ordinance requiring that snow be cleared from sidewalks within 24-hours of a storm event for safety purposes and so that postal workers, the elderly, or disabled individuals can easily navigate walkways.

With today’s storm that could dump 3 to 6 inches of snow in areas, property owners should be prepared and aware of the ordinance.

At Monday’s Council meeting, Manager Erv Suida provided an update on sidewalk snow removal, noting this was the first time they went a little aggressive with enforcement. Suida said after last week’s heavy snow, DPW crews were out and plowed 73 residential, commercial and industrial properties that didn’t clear their sidewalks. The City has around 3,100 properties so it equated to roughly 2.3%. In the past, the City contracted for the service but there aren’t any contractors available so this was the first time doing the work in-house.

Suida said overall he thought it went well and thinks they got the word out pretty quick, adding a lot of people came out and shoveled and tried to get it done.
Suida told WHMI people have those 24 hours after snow is done to clear sidewalks. After that, he says they go around and make a list of those that need to be cleared and do the work. There’s a $50 administrative fee and then a $50 minimum charge for the actual work, depending on the lot size, etc.

Suida said they’re currently working on invoices for those 73 properties, which should be going out this week. He stressed it’s not something they want to do but they need to make sure the City is safe and walkable – adding the vast majority of people are doing a good job, which they appreciate and hope continues.

For those perhaps experiencing hardships, the City is said to be looking into programs or services that people could contact for assistance if they’re not able to clear their sidewalks.

Further, the City has declared a snow emergency effective at 2pm today, lasting through 4pm Friday. Vehicles must be removed from all streets to allow for the safe removal of snow, ice and/or debris. Vehicles left in the road will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.