With each new coat of snow or ice comes an additional layer of responsibility for property owners.

With each new coat of snow or ice comes an additional layer of responsibility for property owners.

Shoveling. Blowing. Sweeping. De-icing.

It is hard work, and city officials realize that some residents are not physically capable of clearing their sidewalks of snow and ice. Still, it has to be done.

City ordinances require that business and homeowners clear all public sidewalks of snow and ice within 12 hours of daylight after any accumulation of snow or ice.

If the city receives a complaint that the sidewalks have not been cleared, the city service director is obligated to issue a warning.

If the property owner still does not do the job within 24 hours, the city can have the sidewalk cleared and send the bill to the property owner.

And yes, it does happen.

Dave Groth, director of public service for the city of Worthington, has sent out dozens of warning letters this winter. And last year, with its heavy snowfalls, he was forced to have some walks cleared at the property owners' expense.

He doesn't like being forced into the role of "sidewalk cop," but he needs to respond to the many e-mails and phone calls he receives about walks that are impassable or treacherous.

"My wish is people would understand the need and not have us remind them," he said.

Most of the complaints are about walks on High Street or Granville Road, or sidewalks near schools. Occasionally he gets a complaint about a residential sidewalk, but mostly he deals with business owners.

When he gets a complaint, he either calls the property owner, or he sends a letter by registered mail. The letters take a day to get out, then two or three to be delivered. By then, Mother Nature has often taken care of the situation.

But Groth keeps at it.

"It's a safety issue, that is what most people complain about," he said.