The first snow of the season reminds us to do several things, put on the snow tires, change the furnace filter, and, oh yes, shovel the sidewalk by 9 a.m. according to city statutes.

Code Compliance Manager with City of Missoula Development Services, Gregg Wood said on Tuesday, December 3, that the snow means more than just recreation activities such as skiing.

"I've always considered Missoula to be a city full of snow-lovers, but we just want to take this opportunity to remind them that there are responsibilities, as well," Wood said. "One of those responsibilities includes shoveling your sidewalk. We're really just asking people to be considerate of others who may require passage on that sidewalk, to make sure it's safe for everybody."

Wood said the rules for snow removal are the same for both private homes and businesses.

"Basically, they all need to be shoveled by 9 a.m. the morning after a snow event," Wood said. "We didn't get much today, but if you don't get after it right away it has a tendency to pack down and become icy, so it's more difficult for you to remove and more difficult for others to walk on. Once we start getting snow, it's important to stay with it and make sure sidewalks are clear."

Wood said the city does not levy a fine for non-compliance.

"When we receive a complaint, we send out a compliance officer, and if no one is home we leave a courtesy notice saying they have 24 hours to clear their sidewalk," Wood said. "The next day we'll check again, and if it's still not clear, we'll call a local contractor and present the homeowner with a bill, which they must pay."

Wood said it's also important to help any elderly or disabled neighbors to get their sidewalks cleared who may not be able to do the job themselves.

Code Compliance Manager with City of Missoula Development Services, Gregg Wood