If you don't shovel your sidewalks or throw away your garbage, the city's building inspectors or members of the UNIT can charge you a $50 inspection fee. But there may not be any city ordinance that allows the fee.
That's what one City Council member is alleging in an effort to overhaul how UNIT violations are assessed.
Alderman Eric Marcus wants to create a system that gives property owners a chance to get first-time UNIT violations waived for failing to shovel snow or property throw away garbage if the violation are promptly corrected.
In a letter to Mayor John Dickert and the City Council, Marcus said the city's current system isn't defined in its municipal code. City law allows inspectors to issue citations, but not inspection fees, Marcus said.
"I have received several concerns from property owners in my district about inspection fees being assessed without being given an opportunity to promptly comply with the Code," Marcus wrote on May 13.
He added: "... there is no ordinance that provides for the $50 inspection fee that can be assessed by the Building Department."
Marcus wants to pass an ordinance that creates an inspection fee for people who don't shovel their sidewalks or pickup their garbage. But it would also create a one-time pass if they clean up the violation within 24 hours of receiving notice, and they haven't had a violation within the past year.
Marcus's proposal would also create an appeals system for any inspection fee, first to the Chief Building Inspector, second to the Commissioner of Public Works and third to the Common Council.
"Please note this would not affect the right to issue a citation if the property owner has violated the ordinance more than once during the previous year," Marcus wrote.
The council's Public Works Committee is scheduled to take up the ordinance at its meeting on Wednesday.