Mayor Carty Finkbeiner warned Toledoans yesterday to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks because the city plans to begin citing property owners who do not comply with the ordinance governing snow removal.
“Do your part to clear your snow and ice from your sidewalks, or prepare to receive a citation from your city hall,” Mr. Finkbeiner said.
Once the white stuff reappears, city police are under orders to ticket any property owner who leaves his sidewalks impassible. The fine is $5 for a first offense.
The Toledo Municipal Code mandates that residents and business owners clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall, or face a citation totaling $91. The statute was rarely enforced until early this year, and the mayor decided to take on the problem of snow-drifted sidewalks.
He said the fine was lowered to $5, pending approval of Toledo municipal court judges.
“We thought a $91 ticket was excessive for a first offense,” the mayor said. “We want to enforce this law, but we didn't want people thinking, `It's a tough year economically, and [the city] wants to take everything they can from us.' This way, they can't say we're doing this to make a ton of money. Five dollars won't break anybody. It's just a reminder that you have to follow the law. You have to do your duty.”
Elderly and handicapped residents can call on a city youth program to help with the chore, the mayor said. The citations can be paid at the clerk of courts office downtown.
Anyone who leaves snow on his sidewalk should be ashamed, the mayor said. He's counting on shame, and neighborhood peer pressure, to get snowbound residents to take up their shovels and blowers.
“Most citizens understand it's their civic duty, and if everyone does his part, the city is a safer place,” he said. “If they don't [shovel], they stand out from their neighbors. They're the lone wolf. They're the ones who don't care about the safety of the neighborhood.”
Residents annoyed by such scofflaw neighbors can report them anonymously through the “Call City Hall” hotline at 936-2020, Mr. Finkbeiner said.