By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Over the past several years, the topic of the city of Pierz clearing snow from sidewalks in the city has been discussed — a recent survey conducted in the city shows that 70 percent of those residents who responded did not want the city to remove snow on sidewalks in town for a fee.
When the Safe Routes to School project was under discussion, several residents who had never had sidewalks before, asked whether they would be responsible for clearing the walks, and under city policy they would be.
The Council considered having city staff plow all sidewalks in the city, but before doing so, Council Member Matt Bell decided to initiate a survey of residents.
Bell said that while he’d heard comments, he wanted to get a survey out to find out what the majority of residents wanted, instead of sitting in his council seat and speculating.
Bell delivered about 401 surveys to homes in the city and 123 were returned.
The question was simply, “Would you want the city to remove snow on sidewalks in town for a fee/cost?”
Of the property owners in the city who did not live on Main Street but who had sidewalks to clear near their properties, 47 returned the survey. Of those, 32 said they would not like the city to remove the snow, 15 said they would appreciate assistance from the city.
Eighteen residents who live on Main Street and have sidewalks returned surveys. Nine said no to the proposal and nine said yes to the city clearing sidewalks.
Property owners without sidewalks who don’t live on Main Street returned 58 surveys. Forty-five didn’t want the city’s help and 13 did.
Overall, 86 residents (70 percent) said no to the city clearing sidewalks and 37, yes.
Bell said the survey showed the residents spoke “loud and clear” about the city removing snow.
City Administrator Anna Gruber said she hoped the survey results would put the issue to rest.
The city’s policy for clearing snow from sidewalks requires that snow (and ice) be removed within 12 hours of a snowfall. It is the responsibility of the property owner or occupant to keep the sidewalk clear and safe for pedestrians.
If the sidewalk is not cleared within 12 hours, the city will remove it for a $35 per hour fee, with the property owner responsible for payment. Any unpaid charges for the service can be assessed to the property owner’s taxes.
The city does plow all sidewalks along Main Street at no charge.