Homeowners in La Crosse are becoming angry at City Hall this winter, over shoveling sidewalks.
Just about every week, people are appealing bills they get from the city for not clearing sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall.
Mayor Mitch Reynolds says city workers are being harassed over the shoveling rules.
“Our staff received some, at the very minimum, harassing phone calls,” Reynolds said Monday during the weekly Board of Public Works meeting. “I don’t think any of them rose to the level of threatening, but there were also some accusations of racism among our staff and it was very discouraging.”
Reynolds said changes in the ordinance should be considered, because the city’s approach to enforcement may seem “antagonistic” to some.
The city charges property owners $2.50 per linear foot, plus a $75 administration fee for sidewalks that aren’t shoveled within 24 hours after a snowfall has ended. Another possible citation could be added to that but Reynolds has told WIZM in the past, that almost never happens.
Out of four appeals considered Monday by the board, two were approved because the property owners argued hardship or lack of notice.
Some homeowners say they’ve tried to shovel, only to see winds blow snow back onto their sidewalk, or more snow start to fall.
City building inspector David Reinhart says complaints are increasing from people being billed when the city comes to shovel the walks.
“We’re receiving so many more complaints this year from the general public,” Reinhart said, “and numerous complaints day after day because our snow shoveling crew just simply can’t get to ’em all because they are clearing so much sidewalk.”
Reinhart would like to hire a second contractor to help keep the walks clear this winter.