City will ask square owners to resume snow removal

Request prompted by staff shortage

CLINTON — Downtown business owners might have to shovel their own snow this winter owing to the city’s shortage of staff.

Commissioner Ken Buchanan said Tuesday his department was currently down by three employees.  One vacant position remains to be filled and two other employees are out on medical leave.

Buchanan briefed the city council about the situation during its regular meeting.

Buchanan said since the city dissolved the cemetery department, those employees were moved to other city departments and no longer were available to handle snow removal on the square.

“Now, the street department and water department work together to do snow removal,” Buchanan said.  “But, the problem now is we’re short three people.”

Buchanan said he would like to contact the downtown business owners and ask that they remove their own snow.

“I don’t know how long the city has been taking care of it.  I know it has been a while,” Buchanan said.

City ordinance 7-5-11 (C), enacted in Oct. 1977, provides that “each person who owns or operates a business or building in the DBD (Downtown Business District) shall be responsible for the removal of snow or ice on the sidewalk in front of the building or business.”

Snow and ice must be removed to at least a six-foot width and placed in the street or hauled away.

The complete ordinance can be viewed on the city website.

Buchanan said he would ask they remove snow from sidewalks all the way to the street.

“This is not a high priority for us during a snow storm,” Buchanan said.  “It will be taken care of as soon as we can get to it.  As I said, we’re short-handed.”

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