Keokuk, FM Examine Snow Removal Laws
More winter weather appears to be in the forecast for two southeast Iowa cities that are examining their rules for snow and ice removal.
Fort Madison residents should have more time to break out their snow shovels and ice melt, thanks to a change in procedure.
City Manager Byron Smith says city code gives property owners twelve hours to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes or businesses.
He admits that the code has not been enforced for years, leading many property owners to not even attempt to comply during this harsh winter.
Smith says the city will start enforcing the code, with a bit of a twist.
He says the city will officially announce when the twelve hour clock will begin through a public notice on the city's website or through local media.
Smith says the reason residents will have more time is because the announcement will not be made until after the city's streets have been cleared.
"So we are talking about probably five days after the snow stops falling," says Smith, "that is when we would publish a notice."
Smith says the city would then hire a contractor, once the twelve hours is up, to remove the snow and ice from sidewalks.
He says non-compliant property owners will be charged $50 for that service.
Meanwhile, the Keokuk City Council could change a law it recently talked about ignoring.
It is illegal to drive a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk, but on occasion, ATV’s or trucks are used by downtown businesses to clear away snow without penalty.
Mayor Tom Marion says the city cannot continue to ignore the law.
He says the city attorney is ready to take legal action as long as it remains in place.
That is why the streets and code revision subcommittees plan to review the law to see if an exemption is needed for snow removal.
Several aldermen have said no one should be punished for clearing snow as long as the sidewalks are not destroyed.