A Ponoka resident must pay $115 in tax arrears after the town had to clear off his sidewalk.
The request came during council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 16, which related to Vern Bruns’ property on 4205 46 Street where the town’s bylaw officer requested he remove ice/snow from his sidewalk almost three years ago. A total of 23 homes on 46 Street received the same request.
If the town, after following all the proper steps, has to do the cleanup, the homeowners must then pay for the cleanup or it gets added to their property taxes. Of the 23 properties who received the request, 22 residents cleared the sidewalk, paid the bill or paid the property taxes that showed the fee, explained CAO Rachel Kunz.
Residents were notified with doorknockers giving them 24 hours to clean up the sidewalks Jan. 10, 2012. On Jan. 12 a contractor cleaned up the sidewalks and dropped off invoices for homes that did not do their own clearing.
Mayor Rick Bonnett suggested that doorknockers may not have been enough to notify residents. “It’s where I would like to see us change the policy on that side in being more diligent so we can get a hold of these people.”
Council was provided with pictures of the sidewalks and a timeline of events leading to clearing the sidewalks. Coun. Tim Falkiner suggested the fee should stay. “That’s a public service that people should be doing for their neighbours.”
Bonnett suggested the town’s bylaw process needs to be more detailed and show that proper steps were made to get in touch with residents.
Coun. Loanna Gulka suggested the arrears need to be paid as the other 22 residents complied and understood the process. “I’m having difficulty excusing one person.”
Council did not make a motion to remove the arrears so his taxes must be paid.