Homeowners shocked by high fines for not clearing snow from sidewalks

Published: Apr. 8, 2019 at 10:14 PM CDT
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Homeowners are frustrated after big bills showed up at their doors for not getting sidewalks cleaned in time after it snowed.

The City of Omaha requires snow to be shoveled 24 hours after the city's snow-removal operations end.

One man has to pay $1,600 in 30 days or a lien goes up against his rental property, and he said he and his tenants received no warning.

"$1,600 is ridiculous. I could hire a 15-year-old to scoop this all year and it wouldn't be $1,600 bucks," landlord Aaron Hueftle said.

Hueftle rents out a home and has cleaned the sidewalk there plenty of times.

"I can tell you maybe it takes an hour or two if you decide to take a break to scoop that. At that rate, I am getting charged over $800 an hour, which is absurd," he said.

Hueftle said he didn't receive a notification and neither did his tenants, just a bill from the Public Works Department.

"At which — if I don't pay this within 30 days — they attach a lien to the property. So I will have a lien against property for that $1,600 bill until this protest happens," he said.

Hueftle said that had he been notified, he would have cleared it himself.

He hasn't received any answers, and 6 News didn't either.

Reporters reached out to Robert Boyd with the Public Works Department who Hueftle has been dealing with. He refused to answer questions.

"What do they need to do better? Notifications to the owner especially," Hueftle said.

And he's not the only one with questions.

Mayor Jean Stothert's office provided documents showing people who have protested their bills. One bill is nearly $8,000. Another was $4,000.

"At the end of the day, I'm stuck with a bill with absolutely no notice and idea it was about to happen," Hueftle said.

Some have already appealed in hopes of having the fine dropped or brought down.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the timeframe residents have to remove snow from sidewalks. 6 News regrets the error.