Most of us are used to winter's civic obligation, to shovel the walk in front of our property.
Shirk the obligation and you risk getting a ticket or, perhaps worse, the disapproval of your neighbors.
Every shovelful is saving some amount of tax money that would otherwise be necessary for the local government to do the work. (In the Village of Orchard Park, the cost comes to $38 per mile of sidewalk, per snowstorm).
The civic obligation is a new thing in the Town of Orchard Park, where sidewalks have relatively recently been installed along state highways. The Town Board passed an ordinance earlier this month putting sidewalk maintenance on the shoulders of property owners.
That's the usual arrangement, but some residents say it just makes more sense, with a low-density population, to make sidewalk plowing a municipal chore. Otherwise, the properties with long frontages … or those that are empty while residents flee south for the winter -- will leave their sidewalks buried under mounds of snow, blocking the way and canceling out the work of others.
So the question is whether to shovel, or not to shovel -- and pay the town to do it.
-- Fred O. Williams