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When People Don't Shovel

February 15th, 2013
ideas, snow

It recently snowed a lot here. Most people have shoveled their sidewalks, but many are still impassible. There are fines for not shoveling, for example, in Medford the law is that if you leave snow for at least

...six hours during the daytime, he shall forfeit and pay the sum of $25.00 for the first offense and $50.00 for each successive day that the sidewalk shall continue to be encumbered. (Code of Ordinances, 74-114)
People are rarely fined for not shoveling, however, and so enough sections of sidewalk are left with snow on them that you pretty much need to just walk in the street. Instead of fines, what if we let people go around with shovels, document their work, bill the town, and the cost would be added to the owner's property taxes? The shoveler would be entitled to however much the owner would have been responsible for in fines.

Here's one way this could be implemented:

I don't like that it's dependent on having a smartphone. You could have a website and use a stand-alone camera for uploading pictures, but that would be more awkward and you'd have more fraud problems (especially timing disputes).

(I say "shoveling", but probably people would mostly use snowblowers.)

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