Evanston’s Administration and Public Works Committee Monday is scheduled to discuss whether the city should pay to have snow shoveled for low-income seniors with single-family homes.
Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) suggested the city explore the idea, and city staff has prepared a detailed memo outlining how similar programs work in two Chicago suburbs — Cicero and Bensenville — and what it might cost to implement such a program here.
The city already has a program that seeks to match up seniors with volunteers willing to shovel snow for them. That program currently has 189 seniors being helped and 93 volunteer snow-shovelers registered to provide the aid.
But it’s not believed that the existing program fully meets the need.
Acting Public Works Director Edgar Cano says 626 single-family homeowners in Evanston qualify for the senior freeze property tax exemption and a few additional homeowners with disabilities might also qualify.
He estimates that around 500 eligible homeowners might choose to participate in such a program, and that average cost of shoveling those walks after a snowfall event would be at least $50,000.
Given that Evanston has had an average of 21 snowfall events a year in recent years, he projects a ballpark annual cost for the program of $1,050,000.
Bensonville splits the cost of its senior snow removal program with residents while Cicero taxpayers absorb the full cost of its program.
Both those communities have less demanding snow removal policies than Evanston, and Cano says they also have more compact residential areas, meaning contractors have less distance to drive between the homes they service than they would here.