Omaha residents, city officials disagree on pricey snow removal bills

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Property owners who didn't shovel their sidewalks after winter storms are learning the high cost of the city doing it for them.

One city council member wants those bills reduced after a citizen complaint of a $1,000 bill that won't be paid.

"My mother is deceased," Mary Jarvis said.

In order to sell her mother's home, Jarvis will have to pay the city bill.

"It's ridiculous for one-time snow removal," she said.

Even though the bill hasn't become a lien on the property yet, that's where it's headed.

Out of two snow removal contractors, the city agreed to the best bid.

"We don't put in any mark up for profit or to recover our time or anything like that. It's straight across what they bill us plus paperwork," city construction engineer Mike Kleffner said.

Omaha Public Works has billed 185 property owners for snow removal.

City Council Member Aimee Melton said she'll propose the city pay half of the cost.

"It's a really steep cost. I'd really like to see more bids next year, so hopefully, if there are some people out there who do snow removal, please bid on the contract and hopefully do it at a more reasonable cost," she said.

City inspectors document work with photos before and after shoveling by the contractor, which charges by the linear foot.

"This year we're looking at other options, possibly going to smaller contracts," Kleffner said.

Jarvis said she'll appeal the shoveling cost that could dig into some of the equity in her late mother's house.

"Hope to sell it but we want a fair shake on the bill," she said.

The Board of Equalization made up of the city council listened to more than a dozen appeals earlier this month and denied all of them.

More hearings will be held in May and June.