Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The City of Missoula is asking for help after receiving many false reports for lack of cooperation in clearing city residential and commercial sidewalks.

KGVO News spoke to Charmelle Owens, Missoula City Code Compliance Supervisor about the problem.

The City is Getting False Reports About Lack of Snow Removal

“We are still experiencing a large volume of citizen complaints, however on the citizen complaints, people have not been placing accurate information,” began Owens. “And so when they call in complaints, we'd really like to see them using their own name, and their own address, and their own telephone number because we verify each complaint and make sure that it's legitimate that we have an actual complaint and because although we don't do active compliance for snow, we actually only take complaints from citizens.”

Owens said both homeowners and some businesses have been pushing their snow in places where it is not allowed.

The City is Also Concerned About Where the Snow is Being Moved

“What we've seen this year is a large amount of snow, much more than we had last year,” she said. “Because of that, we have businesses also that are clearing their snow and now it is being piled up into the public right away and out into the street. When they do that, it poses a significant traffic hazard. We've actually had snow pushed into Brooks Street into South Avenue, and so it makes it really hard for motorists when they're trying to navigate the road.”

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Owens added that the melting snow turns to ice, which is even more difficult to remove and is more dangerous, especially for pedestrians.

“Once we start getting that thaw, all of that water ends up on the street and then it freezes, at night when we get these cooler temperatures, so it's very much of a hazard,” she said. “We're just really encouraging people, both businesses and residential, to make sure that they're putting that snow on their own private property and not into the streets.”

Owens Asks Residents to Assist Their Elderly Neighbors With Snow Removal

Owens clearly stated the snow removal ordinance and also referred to Missoula’s elderly residents who often need help in snow removal.

“So the ordinance is very clear, and it's the same for both residential and for business owners’” she said. “After a significant snowfall, their sidewalks need to be cleared by 9:00 a.m. the following morning. It's really hard on the elderly because it only takes one slip and fall out on snow while they're shoveling to break a hip or receive another injury. For that reason, we really try to work with our elderly population to try to find somebody that will assist them and that goes as well for any individuals that are handicapped as well.”

Click here to read the official City of Missoula snow removal policy.

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