From Mayor Fuller’s most recent email newsletter…

We made it through the first storm under the City’s new ordinance requiring home owners to shovel the sidewalk in front of their homes within 24 hours of when the snow stops falling. It was a first for residents, and a first for us here at City Hall. Things went well with only one glitch in our handheld computers. Anecdotally, more sidewalks were shoveled and many of us found it more walkable and safer.

We had 261 complaints into the City of Newton 311 system about sidewalks failing to be shoveled 24 hours after the snow stopped last week. City of Newton Engineers, the people who follow up on these complaints, went out to take a photo and issue warnings to the reported addresses. The glitch occurred when a few of those warnings, while entered by the Engineers, didn’t get recorded properly in the software system. This matters because after the first warning, a $50 fine is issued, and then the fine is repeated if the sidewalk remains unshoveled and subsequent complaints are made.

Because of the glitch, we’re giving everyone a pass for the first storm. We’ve fixed the glitch so starting 24 hours after Wednesday’s light snow (i.e., 11 a.m. on Thursday), everything starts from scratch; if a home owner gets a warning for not clearing the sidewalk, it will be considered that property’s first.
Fines are $50 and will be repeated every 24 hours until the sidewalk is cleared. This ordinance applies only to sidewalks that are paved or cement. If the sidewalk in front of your property is grass or gravel, you don’t need to shovel.

Thank you to everyone who shoveled and who helped a neighbor.

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