It's that time of the season again - no, not just the Christmas season. It is the season for snow and for city residents to remember to shovel out their sidewalks and make a clear path to their mailboxes for the safety of others.

The city of Spring Valley has an ordinance about ice and snow on public sidewalks. According to the ordinance, snow and ice remaining on the sidewalks should be removed by the owner or tenant of the abutting property within 12 hours after the snow and ice event has ceased.

City Administrator Deb Zimmer said, "Keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice provides a safe place for those walking, especially children going to and from school and the people who deliver mail or newspapers."

The city may find cause to step in and remove the ice and snow if not removed from the sidewalks 24 hours after the snow and ice, at a charge to the property owner. The cost is $75 per hour of work with a minimum charge of $100. The city also has the right to impose special assessments against the lots or parcels of ground abutting the sidewalks that were cleared by the city. If not paid, they can also file a civil suit against the property owners, according to the ordinance.

Clearing the sidewalks of snow and ice is also very important for postal carriers. Spring Valley Postmaster Bill Bires noted that if carriers can't access a resident's mailbox that they give them notice to clear the snow and ice away and will hold their mail until it is safe to deliver.

He added, "We have held mail until they get it cleaned up. Last year it was pretty bad with all of the snow we had and we have had a few already (this year) that we have held mail on."

Bires noted that what the carriers are really cautious about are steps and if they can't get up to the boxes.

He said, "We will cross snow if it is not too deep, but what we really worry about is compacted places (that can be slippery.)"