Clean up or pay up

Winter is almost here and for many students at the University of Minnesota, that means a more treacherous trek to campus. While students can depend on Facilities Management to remove ice and snow from the sidewalks on campus, they are generally on their own in the surrounding neighborhoods.

This winter, city officials are encouraging pedestrians to call 311 and report snow-covered and icy sidewalks so they can take action. If the snow is not removed, the property owner may face a $75 fine.

Generally, when a complaint is issued the city orders the property owner to clear the walk. If they do not, the city removes the snow and bills the property owner for the removal.

However, last winter the city accrued $52,000 in unpaid removal charges, which may ultimately end up as a part of next yearâÄôs property taxes for residents.

Not only are property owners who donâÄôt clear their sidewalks creating a hazard for those who have to travel through them, but they are also disrespecting everyone in Minneapolis by creating additional costs.

Since the threat of serious injury to anyone who happens to walk by hasnâÄôt yet deterred enough property owners to clear their walks, it is a good idea for the city to take matters into their own hands and impose the $75 fine. Citations should be given out judiciously and fairly, and the city should focus on repeat offenders.

This is an issue that should be decided on quickly, as winter is right around the corner.

Students are often forced to trudge through many blocks of snow to catch a bus to get to class. It is time that the city starts enforcing its laws for the sake of the safety of its citizens.