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Winter Walking and Cycling
(02-06-2018, 12:05 AM)Elmira Guy Wrote: The town of Elmira has it's sidewalks cleared (I believe by a hired company), and they seem to have them cleared pretty quickly after a snowfall. In fact, I have seen them out while the snow is still falling.
Can't imagine why it would be any more complicated or troublesome to do the same here in the city/cities.

I think the complications aren't in the implementation of the plan, but in the politics. Any changes to how money is allocated, or anything that increases taxes, is immediately met with very vocal complaint.

I can imagine all the "snowflake" jokes now.
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Do you guys think it's worth calling in a complaint about uncleared sidewalks around the former McDonald's at King/Moore? They never get done here, but since it's basically an empty lot I don't have much hope that they ever will.
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If it's inconveniencing you, please do call the City (519-741-2345) to report it, especially if you've found the property to be a chronic offender. It might be a while before the City actions it (since anticipated snowfalls will reset the clock), but eventually it will be cleared.
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(02-06-2018, 03:09 PM)ElsieEm Wrote: Do you guys think it's worth calling in a complaint about uncleared sidewalks around the former McDonald's at King/Moore? They never get done here, but since it's basically an empty lot I don't have much hope that they ever will.

Hey, I called it in this morning.  Please please do call any time a sidewalk inconveniences you.  Since staff have taken "complaints" to be a major metric they use when justify supporting not clearing sidewalks, they need to see how big a problem this is for people.

In terms of actual changes, it will *eventually* be cleared, namely, if it stays cold and snowy for 7 to 14 days without intervening snow, there's a small chance city crews will clear it.  Chances are it will melt first, but whatever.
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(02-06-2018, 11:38 AM)robdrimmie Wrote:
(02-06-2018, 12:05 AM)Elmira Guy Wrote: The town of Elmira has it's sidewalks cleared (I believe by a hired company), and they seem to have them cleared pretty quickly after a snowfall. In fact, I have seen them out while the snow is still falling.
Can't imagine why it would be any more complicated or troublesome to do the same here in the city/cities.

I think the complications aren't in the implementation of the plan, but in the politics. Any changes to how money is allocated, or anything that increases taxes, is immediately met with very vocal complaint.

I can imagine all the "snowflake" jokes now.

I think you mean “anything that appears to increase taxes”, since the total city-imposed burden on a property will go down in the event the city takes over sidewalk clearing.

Not that I’m necessarily against increasing taxes (what’s the money going to be used for?), but in this case the proposal is to reduce the total amount of money/effort expended by taxpayers satisfying their obligations to the city, so “taxes bad” isn’t even a valid argument, unless it is presented in favour of sidewalk clearing by the city.
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(02-06-2018, 05:10 PM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(02-06-2018, 11:38 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: I think the complications aren't in the implementation of the plan, but in the politics. Any changes to how money is allocated, or anything that increases taxes, is immediately met with very vocal complaint.

I can imagine all the "snowflake" jokes now.

I think you mean “anything that appears to increase taxes”, since the total city-imposed burden on a property will go down in the event the city takes over sidewalk clearing.

Not that I’m necessarily against increasing taxes (what’s the money going to be used for?), but in this case the proposal is to reduce the total amount of money/effort expended by taxpayers satisfying their obligations to the city, so “taxes bad” isn’t even a valid argument, unless it is presented in favour of sidewalk clearing by the city.

I completely agree with your rephrasing, but I don't understand the math that results in a reduced burden. This is because I am ignorant, not because I disagree.

Is it because the burden of having to acquire snow-clearing materials is more than the $26 it would add to the annual taxes, or would the annual tax bills themselves decrease in value?
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Ijmorlan means that, for anyone whose time is worth anything in financial terms, the burden being imposed currently is definitely greater than $26/year. Some people truly might rate their time as worthless and give it away for free, some people enjoy shoveling snow and would conceivably do it for fun anyway, but for “typical” property owners with “busy lives” (almost everyone seems to think their life is busy), they’re using $26 worth of labour clearing the city-owned sidewalk after the first snowfall or two.
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(02-07-2018, 12:51 PM)MidTowner Wrote: Ijmorlan means that, for anyone whose time is worth anything in financial terms, the burden being imposed currently is definitely greater than $26/year. Some people truly might rate their time as worthless and give it away for free, some people enjoy shoveling snow and would conceivably do it for fun anyway, but for “typical” property owners with “busy lives” (almost everyone seems to think their life is busy), they’re using $26 worth of labour clearing the city-owned sidewalk after the first snowfall or two.

Thanks, that’s essentially what I’m saying. Another way of thinking about it: imagine the city makes city-provided sidewalk clearing an optional service. Every property owner either pays $30 and gets their sidewalk cleared, or they don’t pay, in which case a bylaw officer comes out 24 hours after every snowfall and tickets them if their walk isn’t clear.

By definition, anybody who opted in would consider the cost to themselves of doing their own shovelling to be more than $30 a year; and anybody who opted out would consider the cost to themselves of doing their own shovelling to be less than $30 a year. This is called a “revealed preference”.

How many people would opt out? I mean, for real?

Funny thing, is I actually think that if people raise a stink about the supposed tax increase then making it opt-out might actually be a reasonable approach: anybody who wanted to could opt out of the tax increase, and would instead getting the bylaw officers checking up on them after every storm. I predict the out-out rate would be about 0.1% the first year and indistinguishable from 0 the second year. This isn’t like other services where it’s really not feasible to prevent non-payers from using the service (e.g., parks; we simply have to decide, at Council, how much to spend).
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The cost per property is much lower, though, if ALL properties' sidewalks are cleared.
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It would actually increase total costs to somehow avoid the "opting-out" properties. What would the snow plow do, lift its blade as it passed them? There would still be a time cost.
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