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Village says ice is a property owner problem

The Skaneateles Village Board has deemed icicle removal on private property by village employees a big no-no.

"I don't know how you defend this as a practice," village Attorney Michael Byrne said during the village's Jan. 24 meeting. "This whole thing is fraught with issues."

In the past, the village electrical department has answered the call of private property owners in the downtown district to remove dangerously large icicles from buildings. But, by doing so, the department is making the village liable in the event of property damage or personal injury.

According to Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz and Police Chief Lloyd Perkins, both have received calls from private business owners in the downtown district requesting icicles be removed from buildings.

Perkins said his department has also been asked to place cones around areas where icicles could fall. However, by doing that it inadvertently puts liability on the village if someone were to get hurt by a falling icicle.

"The village is not liable if an icicle falls from a privately owned building," Mayor Bob Green said.

There are private contractors who remove icicles and ice buildup.

According to Byrne, if a property owner can see ice buildup and call the village to have it removed, they are capable of calling a private contractor. The service will no longer be provided by village employees.

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