With a winter of practically nonstop snow and extremely low temperatures, La Crosse officials have requested more funding to clear snow from sidewalks.
In La Crosse, most people shovel their sidewalks. For the small portion that doesn’t, it's costly and time-consuming for city officials. La Crosse is like many Wisconsin cities, where property owners have to shovel 24 hours after a snowfall. If they don’t, they’ll be fined. City contractors then shovel the snow at a rate of $2.50 per foot.
“By the time you factor in paying contractors, my time, up in finance – that whole process involves manpower,” said Doug Kerns, the city’s sidewalk coordinator. “We have two databases right now that wouldn’t have to be in place if people were shoveling their sidewalks.”
Between the constant snow and foreclosed homes, the city has burned through its $35,000 sidewalk shoveling budget and recently requested $25,000 more to get through the rest of the year.
Kerns urges anyone who is able to shovel their sidewalks, to just do it: “No one likes to do it. I don’t like to do it, I really don’t.”
Kerns said the city could lose money with the program, but it’s needed as a matter of public safety.