By Guy Leonard, St. Mary's County Times
HOLLYWOOD, Md.—St. Mary's County residents who have homes or property that abuts a county sidewalk must now shovel snow from their portion of the walkway after the Commissioners of St. Marys County voted, with one in opposition, to approve the new ordinance.
There were some changes to the proposal, which included extending the amount of time allowed to clear the snow from 36 hours to 72 hours but Commissioner Mike Hewitt said he felt the ordinance was still too onerous for the elderly and the disabled.
I just believe that if we have a really bad winter we [county government] should go in there and do something, Hewitt said.
Hewitt has signaled his dislike of the ordinance from the beginning when Commissioner President Randy Guy returned from a winter vacation in Colorado where residents there were compelled to shovel snow under a similar law.
At the time Guy said an ordinance of that kind was needed here in light of confusion over deep snowfalls last winter that strained the countys removal budget and made major sidewalks like the one on Great Mills Road impassable.
Supporters of the ordinance and public works chief George Erichsen were quick to point out that any civil enforcement actions would be based on complaints; the county was not looking to go out after a snow storm and look for violators.
Commissioner Tom Jarboe said that while the sidewalks had been built by the county they were there for the benefit of homeowners and businesses alike.
This is a community and this is a community effort, Jarboe said. The idea here is not to be punitive.
Jarboe also said that the new ordinance did not preclude the county from stepping in and clearing a sidewalk, either whole or in part, as it did last winter.
Commissioner John OConnor said the cooperation of residents will actually help the county save money on snow removal. Itll limit the financial impact to the county, he said.
Push for Snow Removal Ordinance in St. Mary's Continues, June 17, 2015