Clear | 7MPH




September 2014


City: Get that shovel out after it snows

Officials warn of citations, safety hazards if snow is not removed

City of Oconomowoc - If it's winter in Wisconsin, you're going to have snow. And, if there is going to be snow, homeowners have to deal with it.

As tempting as it may be to just hope the ice and snow will melt away on its own, there are repercussions to ignoring the situation.

Since the season's delayed snowfalls have kicked into gear, city officials are reminding residents of their responsibility to keep their sidewalks clear.

Failure to do so could result in a citation for violating city ordinance.

According to the municipal code, all ice and snow must be removed from the sidewalk 24 hours after the snow ceases to fall.

"So, if it's going to snow on and off for two days, it's when it stops completely," City of Oconomowoc Police Chief Dave Beguhn said.

Officers are not out on patrol seeking noncompliant homeowners, but rather responding to citizen reports, the chief said.

"When we do issue citations, it's after we have received a complaint," he explained.

"Sometimes it comes from people walking around in their neighborhoods, or around the lake. It's almost always complaint-driven," Beguhn added.

The chief said that contacting the homeowner in violation can sometimes take some time.

"We aren't privy to what houses that are up for sale, are occupied or not or it could be a case of a bank foreclosure," he said. Efforts are then made to call to Realtors to report the issue.

"Sometimes people no longer live there, but have made arrangements to have it shoveled," and they are unaware of the problem. If the property owner does not resolve the issue, the city can have the area cleared by the Department of Public Works.

Complaints have been few this season.

"Of course this is an odd weather year. We've had limited snowfall and are far behind our usual totals," he said.

To date only one ticket has been issued, compared to 26 last year for the entire season. "There's a big difference between last season and this season. Our season last year began in November," the chief pointed out.

Director of Public Works Mark Frye said last year four properties had to be cleared by Public Works personnel. He said the property owner is billed for the actual labor to do the work at $47.44 per hour. This cost would be in addition to any citations issued by the Police Department, Frye said.

A resident also questioned the city's responsibility shoveling the boardwalk behind City Hall. The resident complained the area was left snow-covered for days after a recent storm.

Frye explained that the boardwalk is an area the city does not clear because of its decking.

"We place barricades at the entrances but they usually end up getting knocked down or thrown out on to the ice. As with any wood-planked type decking, the boards do not have a level surface across them; they will either cup or crown. With this, we are unable to remove all of the snow by shoveling," Frye said. Further, he said the boardwalk is not constructed to allow for the city to use its mechanical sweeper to clear it.

Another important thing to remember when clearing your property of snow and ice is to make sure the nearest fire hydrant is visible and not inaccessible due to snow accumulation.

In a previous interview, Deputy Chief Glenn Leidel of the City of Oconomowoc Fire Department urged residents to be sure to dig out around the hydrants closest to their home. That effort helps firefighters connect equipment without experiencing a delay of valuable time. Accessibility to the fire hydrants is key in protecting lives and property.

"The more help we can get, the better. If everyone did the one or two closest to them, it would be a great help, because the longer it takes us, the longer it takes us," he said.

Beguhn said the city does shovel the hydrants out, but first priority is given to clearing the streets.

"We have had multiple snow storms in a short period of time and it's starting to pile up. If people could help by clearing the snow away from the hydrants, we would very much appreciate it," he added.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Living Lake Country

E-mail Newsletter

Top stories from the Lake Country area. Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.
Lake Country Construction Guide


Consruction season is underway in Lake Country and

we've got you covered when it comes to street closures and delays:

Mukwonago area projects

Sussex, Menomonee Falls area projects

Kettle Moraine area projects

Greater Lake Country area projects


Special Report
Community Pride 2014


Celebrate Lake Country 

communities with stories

of community pride








Rummage Router
Just click to find a rummage near you


Your Photos
Anna Duerwachter - Pewaukee , WI
Community Blogs

Lake Country residents share their views on news, happenings and current events.

It's Hemmer Time
By Amy L. Geiger-Hemmer
Obama has no intention of defeating ISIS...period.

Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective
By Bernie Ziebart
Penn State

By Mike Garber
35th Topic - This space for rent

Cook's Corner
By Cynthia Acosta Luksich
Summer in Wisconsin equals chili: Basic chili from leftover taco meat

Eagle's Eye
By Al Neuhauser
Global Humbug IX-Environmental Madness features more than a dozen community bloggers - a group of volunteer conversation leaders who are up on the latest topics and never short on an opinion. Just a few are pictured here. Check out the rest and see what they have to say!

View All Blogs

Discussion Guidelines

Do you want to become a Community Blogger? welcomes your thoughts and opinions. Contact us for more information:
I want to blog

Legal Notices
Back to top