Winter is in full effect for many in the United States who live in the northern states. States like New York, Idaho, New Hampshire and Michigan have already seen an abundance of snow fall.
Many cities have requirements for snow removal, such as snow must be removed from public walkways if the walkway is on your property. For example, in New York City, store owners and occupants have a 4 hour window after snow falls to have it removed from sidewalks in front of their establishments, except between the hours of 9pm to 7am. Failure to do so can land you with a fine or 10 days in jail.
A small town in Montana, known as Butte-Silver Bow, is also going to start fining those who do not follow the city’s shoveling requirement. Under the newly stiffened ordinance, those who do not remove snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours after snowfall will receive a warning. The second offense will result in a fine of $50, then $100 for a third offense, and maxing out at $150 for a subsequent offense.
Although the law is strict, they are lenient to those who may not be able to shovel their driveways. People who are 65 years old or older, and those with a documented disability will be exempt from the snow clearing law if their income is 150% less of the federal poverty level or less. This means the person has an average annual income of $17,505 or less, or $35,775 annually for a family of four.
Luckily, the city has set up a signup sheet for people to volunteer removing the snow fromcounty-owned areas. Annually, Butte-Silver Bow gets 25 inches or more of snow. Business owners, homeowners, and tenants must take on the responsibility to inform officials of areas not taken care of.
In addition, the snow removal program will help the volunteer students of low-income families to become first-generation college students. They have had plenty of students sign up to volunteer as snow shovelers, especially since they are very open to helping their community in any way. The city is given the list of student volunteers, and matches them with locations to remove snow that is near their homes to make travel simpler.
So far, no one has been fined yet. It is said that the city will not have officers patrolling the streets for unplowed snow violations, but if it is reported that a sidewalk or entrance is unsafe and not shoveled, then they will take action to fine. Schultz says the city does not expect to give out many violation fines. They are going to work with people and try a friendly approach first in hopes the people will react well.