The Minnesota winter often includes roughly a metric ton of snow. A a civic duty, this snow needs to be shoveled off sidewalks and tossed into the yard of that neighbor nobody likes.
But come this December's pile-on, Minneapolis resident might have an added incentive to be a decent human being and get all that stuff out of the way. The city is planning to chase down the laziest among us, and cite those who don't comply with both a public shaming and a $75 fine.
Finally, the city has learned something from the movie "Scarface," and decided that everyone needs a little cash incentive to push white powder.
The new threats, as reported in the Star Tribune, would leave houses and duplexes 24 hours to get rid of the snow on their sidewalk. Technically, that could be accomplished by eating it, but a more likely solution is dusting off the ol' shovel and shoving.
The city hasn't yet decided to levy fines on deadbeats, but Minneapolis has accumulated enough complaints from the elderly and disabled to make this a glaringly obvious issue. Apparently the people who can't muscle a snow session are still able to poke their fingers into the digits "3-1-1" on their touchtone dial, and the city pretty much knows who is and who isn't pulling their weight.
Our -- well, you know, "their" -- collective laziness was explained in a City Council meeting on Tuesday, with Department of Public Works liaison Brett Hjelle explaining the windswept snowdrift shape of the problem to the council. According to Hjelle, city employees spent a lot of hours shoveling for no-showers last year, meaning they wasted time before getting to properties that are actually vacant.
Some $52,000 in fines are on their way, via retroactive property tax fees, to the people responsible for some of that annoyance, the Star Tribune reports. But other, more proactive chest-poking is in order: Considering that Hennepin County is actually within its bounds to hammer scofflaws with a $103 fine, the city council's proposed $75 is a relative bargain. And you know what's even cheaper than $75? A shovel!
As of yet, the Minneapolis City Council refuses to consider the idea of bringing back the stocks and pillory concept. But City Pages would like to endorse whatever it takes to force people from their cozy homes and into the bleak streets to make Minneapolis walkable.