Pekin residents could face fines if snow isn’t removed
PEKIN (25 News Now) - Temperatures are in the mid 80′s this week, but in Pekin snow removal is already the talk of city council. It all stems from a class-action lawsuit settled in May.
The city will pay more than a million dollars on accessibility improvements in a consent decree, which means they wanted to address their snow removal plan now.
Opinions may have differed Monday night, but Pekin City Council members say a decision was necessary on who will be required to shovel snow off sidewalks.
“We need to get this in the books because we can’t afford another lawsuit,” Mayor Mark Luft continued, “We have to close this up and do the right thing and keep moving forward.”
In May, the City of Pekin entered into a consent decree to settle a class action lawsuit, surrounding accusations the city violated the American’s with Disabilities Act. Within the agreement is the topic of shoveling sidewalks and who is responsible for doing it, in order for the city to remain ADA compliant.
“Sometimes we have to address issues in our community as a community,” said Luft.
Council amended the ordinance to make residents responsible for shoveling the sidewalk adjacent to their property within 48 hours of a 2 inch snow fall. Two warnings will be given before fines are issued. Those fines could be up to $75. Residents could also be fined $280 if they remove their snow onto a street or sidewalk.
“We do not want it to be a revenue generator,” said Luft.
The other option was to have the city pay for the removal.
“We should not be investing taxpayer dollars...millions, millions, into something that happens a handful of times,” said Luft.
The mayor wants to set up a program to help people who cannot shovel their own, like the elderly.
Neighbors 25 News spoke with off-camera say the fines are not fair, while others say they already shovel their own sidewalks.
“It’s going to turn into a circus of turning people in,” said Luft.
While the decision is made, council wants to come back to the topic after the snow season to reflect.
“I agree with the mayor. I think we need to look at this next spring and see where we can improve it and make changes,” said Councilmember Lloyd Orrick.
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