Today is a snow day! You know what that means, as a citizen of our sweet little town we all have a civic duty and law that mandates that we take extra time out of our day, roll up our sleeves, meet and greet our neighbors, and between us (and the public works department) by the end of the day, we will probably have our town pretty well shoveled out. Isn’t that the goal??
As a downtown property tax payer (commercial building owner) and a sales tax collector ( i.e. downtown merchant} I have a responsibility to shovel out my property in such a way that invites pedestrians to safely walk down my sidewalk without fear of slipping. As a downtown merchant, whose property occupies the area near 1st and G streets, my goal is to encourage people to walk into my store and park comfortably on the street to entice them, particularly their wives, to get out of the car without stepping into knee-deep slush. That’s just not good for business.
As a citizen and downtown proprietor I have willfully taken the responsibility of keeping the corner of First and G as clean as possible when it comes to snow removal, if not a large pond forms at that corner and makes it very difficult for pedestrians to navigate. For that particular location I have found it necessary to shovel all the snow off the sidewalk into the middle of the street and literally shovel out the gutters, particularly on the corner, so that the melting snow water can run down the gutter rather than form a lake as it is want to do.
Now, today I was doing exactly that, clearing the sidewalks, and eventually the gutters, to encourage down town shopping possibilities when Bob Salmi, our public works department head, pulls up to me, in his car, as I am shoveling, and asks me not to shovel the snow onto the street but rather shovel it into the gutter as apparently is the law. I attempt to inform him the reasoning / logic as to my shoveling the snow into the street to prevent the “lake Effect” but rather than listening to my reasoning became obstinate with me on the issue and consequently, as did I, for I had my reasons. What should have been a non-issue, instead, became a pissing contest that took up 20 min of his and mine precious time and ultimately resulted in Mr. Salmi calling the cops on me for the crime of shoveling the sidewalk. Imagine my surprise
I’m sorry, I thought the problem was encouraging the citizens to do their civic duty and law to help shovel out the City, not harass the people who are! I mean I thought he was going to complement me on a job well done!
But here is my real gripe. I have been the steward of that corner now for 5 years. I know what’s going to happen there from experience, and I know how to prevent it. Were all on the same team! I know on a snow day that rather than doing all the other things I need to do today, I am going to do my duty; work with the plow crews and by the end of the day make sure that my area of stewardship and liability is done, clean, and well maintained. I am a friend, not foe, working towards the same common goal, so why am I being harassed by a public employee who probably has bigger fish to fry. I mean doesn’t the head of the public works department have employees to manage? Shouldn’t that be his worry rather than micro-managing the very person whose goal is to collect as much sales tax as possible to help pay his wage?
As I finish this letter, I watch a pedestrian couple try to navigate the slush pile as they step off the curb into the street while trying not to get their feet wet or splashed on by passing cars as they try to cross the street. The scene is comical. Had I not been instructed with threat of a ticket and court to leave the snow in the gutter, and had I been allowed and encouraged to go about my civic duty, that scene outside my store window would not have occurred nor the resulting ice damn that will form tonight after it freezes making an even more hazardous intersection.
Please, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job so don’t tell me how to do mine.
Were all on the same team!!!
Wanderlust Road, 146 West First Street, Salida Co.