You Could Be Fined $500 For Not Shoveling Your Sidewalk This Winter

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Oct 20, 2015 2:55PM

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Photo credit: Ben Campney

Winter in Chicago is a time of simpler joys, like turning a corner to find the sidewalk ahead of you has been freshly snow-shoveled.

The city is now trying to encourage more Chicagoans to shovel their sidewalks, and raise more money from those who don't, by increasing the $50 fines for snow build-up to up to $500. Chicago has rarely enforced its current snow shoveling ordinance, according to a 2014 NBC analysis, but during these cash-strapped budget times, City Hall is looking for more and more ways to generate revenue.

The fine-hike was approved by the City Council's budget committee Monday and is heading on to the full council next Wednesday, at the same time as the council is set to vote on the mayor's 2016 budget proposal and a slew of fee and fine increases, including a massive property tax hike.

The updated snow removal ordinance would include a five-fold increase in the maximum penalty for property owners who don't remove snow and ice from the sidewalk that touches their building. City officials say their goal is to target people who never shovel their sidewalks and block the public way—not homeowners who might need more than a day to dig out from a major snowstorm.

Chicagoans will be expected to shovel their walkways by 10 p.m. if snow falls during the day, and by 10 a.m. if snow falls overnight.

The fine for failing to do so is set to increase from about $50 to $100 to anywhere between $50 and $500 for repeat offenders, and the fine for blocking the public way with snow that has been shoveled is set to increase from a range of $25 to $100 to a range of $50 to $500.

[H/T DNAinfo]