NAUGATUCK – Some members of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses are concerned that sidewalks have still not been cleared following the winter’s first snow storm, and the most recent storm is just adding to the problem.
Board members were primarily concerned about the safety of kids walking to school over the slippery walks to being forced out into the street because the sidewalks are covered in snow.
Mayor Robert Mezzo said he met members of the police and public works department to discuss the issue. Police agreed to step up enforcement of sidewalk shoveling, which is the responsibility of the property owner or occupant where the sidewalk is located, according to a town ordinance.
Police will talk to property owners and give them a notice if their sidewalk is not cleaned, Mezzo said.
According to the ordinance, residents have six daylight hours after it stops snowing to remove snow from their sidewalks.
“We recommend people don’t clean them during the snow,” said Public Works Director James Stewart. If sidewalks are shoveled while it’s still snowing, the plows may cover them again when they come through, he said.
If the walks still aren’t shoveled a few days after a storm, public works may clean the area and charge property owners for the service, Mezzo said.
Town workers will concentrate their efforts in highly-trafficked areas, such as Rubber Avenue and City Hill Street.
“I think it’s a localized problem. It’s one or two home owners on a street and one or two businesses. I’m hoping once they get notified they’ll take care of it and that will be the end of it,” said Stewart.
He said the public works department doesn’t have the manpower to shovel other people’s sidewalks during a storm.
Police will give special consideration to the elderly, persons with disabilities, and anyone who has a legitimate excuse for not shoveling their sidewalks before issuing fines, Mezzo said.
“We’ll take it on a case by case basis,” he said.
Mezzo said he hoped to recruit volunteers to shovel sidewalks for neighbors who cannot complete the task do to infirmity.
Burgess Henry Kuczenski, who was especially adamant about the snow issue, said there is no excuse for businesses which still haven’t cleared their sidewalks, including businesses on Church Street and Johnson.
“I just don’t want to someone to get hurt,” he said.