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Bettendorf shoveler

Joel Choate shovels snow at his home in Bettendorf last week to avoid a bill from the city. If Bettendorf homeowners fail to shovel snow off of their sidewalks within 48 hours of a snowstorm, the city can remove the snow and charge the property owner.

The Bettendorf City Council has quickly blown away the issues that forced it to table an amended snow removal ordinance at this week's committee-of-the-whole meeting.

During Monday's meeting, Alderman Scott Webster, 5th Ward, questioned the city's notification process for removing snow from sidewalks and the lack of a warning to residents.

The proposed ordinance required homeowners and tenants to remove snow and ice accumulation within 48 hours of a snow event from November to March and the notification of the new policy was through the newspaper.

With many of the other aldermen in agreement about the need for a warning, the council deadlocked on moving the ordinance to Tuesday's council agenda before ultimately voting to table the ordinance until a later date by a 5-1 vote.

In less time than required to remove snow, the council brought the ordinance back during its Tuesday meeting and was able to resolve its issues after city staff came up with a compromise to the aldermen's satisfaction.

City Administrator Decker Ploehn said should a homeowner or tenant not remove snow or ice from the sidewalk within the required time, a door hanger will be placed at the residence that gives 24-hour notice to remove the snow.

If that notice is not complied with, the resident would be responsible for the work assigned to a city contractor to remove the snow or ice, which the notice says will be a minimum of $100.

Ploehn said the door hanger and code enforcement language would not be part of the ordinance, but rather the administrative policy so that changes could be made relatively quickly in the event they are needed.

With the aldermen also bringing up types of events that would prevent someone from complying, such as bereavement or hospitalization, the administrative policy also would give code enforcement more flexibility on when to issue fines.

Although the council was split just a day earlier, the changes were enough for the first reading of the ordinance to pass unanimously.

"I think this is outstanding, and it gives our staff a tool to provide safe, walkable streets within our city," Alderman Jerry Sechser, 1st Ward, said.