Common Council shoots down proposed $50 fine for not shoveling sidewalk in Syracuse

A proposed $50 fine for not shoveling your sidewalk in the city of Syracuse was voted down on Monday by the Syracuse Common Council.

Just an hour before the vote, Common Councilor Bob Dougherty dropped the proposed fine for not shoveling your sidewalk from $100 to $50 but it wasn't enough. The council voted the fine down 7-2. Councilor Jean Kessner said she sees the problem but wasn't convinced the proposed fine was the answer.

"We need to have a way of consistently getting rid of snow on our sidewalks," said Kessner. "What doesn't seem to work is fining people, or letting people know or passing an ordinance. For heaven's sake we've done a number of them."

Dan and Nancy Smothergill came to the Common Council vote hoping to see the fine approved. They see snow covered sidewalks as dangerous often forcing children to walk in the road on their way to school.

"It's a safety issue, and it's crazy that we live in such a snowy place and its not taken care of," said Nancy Smothergill.

In Rochester, the city plows the sidewalks and neighbors pay an extra $150 in taxes each year year but Dougherty says that amount does not come close to what it costs the city to provide the service. Dougherty and councilors who voted against the fine in Syracuse say they hope the issue has momentum so discussions can continue and not melt away with the snow in the springtime.

"We should be better at this. We get more snow than any other major city in the country," said Dougherty.