With the area already experiencing three minor snowfall events and winter right around the corner, it may be a good time for Manchester residents to refamiliarize themselves with the rules governing snow removal on sidewalks.

Given that sidewalks are used as an avenue for children getting to school, people getting to work and residents getting exercise, keeping sidewalks cleared of ice and snow is often viewed as a public safety issue and a potential liability issue for property owners.

The full text of Manchester’s code of ordinance is available for review on the city’s website, but for snowy sidewalks, code section 136.03 is really the only relevant text.

136.03 states that snow or ice from sidewalks may be disposed of along the curbs of the streets prior to the commencement of the City’s snow removal operations, but not afterward, unless the sidewalk is in the business district.

Should any accumulation remain on a sidewalk for 10 daylight hours after a storm, the City Manager can order the removal of accumulation without notice to the owner or occupant.

Manchester’s code does not require city-initiated removal to be complaint-driven, it can be originated by city staff.

However, City Manager Tim Vick said it is common practice for staff to post notice on the property owner’s door, giving them 24 hours to remedy the situation before an outside entity comes to clear the sidewalk.

Following a third-party removal, the City Manager must then notify the council at its next meeting about how many feet of sidewalk has been cleared, the expense for removal, date cleaned and a description of where it occurred, the code states.

Following council approval, it will direct the City Clerk to certify the cost and assessments to the County Treasurer, which can then be collected in the same manner as property taxes if not paid to the city.

Vick said on top of property owners paying the costs of removal, they will also be assessed $50 in administration costs.

The council recently awarded the 2020/2021 contract for nuisance sidewalk snow removal to Cole Beckman, of Supreme Green, with his low bid of $60 per sidewalk or per hour.

The council also awarded a contract for city-owned sidewalk and snow removal to Mark Fink, who submitted a low bid of $440 per removal.