Big blow for snow tow in Meyers
Members of the Meyers Roundtable don’t want a recurring scene in their community: parked cars blocking snow removal crews.
With some people it’s a case of forgetting and for others it’s a careless disregard for the law. The $35 fine imposed by El Dorado County, say roundtable members, isn’t enough to stop violators from repeating the offense.
The roundtable wants to stick it to them.
The Board of Supervisors will vote on Tuesday whether to approve a $200 snow tow fee. The fee hike is proposed to cut down the number of violators and replenish the coffers of the county’s Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Transportation.
Snow tow fees are enforced when vehicles haven’t been moved from snow plow routes. Crews have to maneuver around the cars and some neighborhoods are left with snow-filled streets.
The snow tow fee is only half of the headache when the Sheriff’s Department cites offenders with pink tickets. They must still pay the expense when the tow companies take the vehicles and store them in a fenced lot. A citation, under the roundtable’s proposal, could cost more than $350.
“We want to use this charge as a deterrent,” said roundtable chairman Sue Yang. “We want to make it hurt, so they won’t do it again.”
The $200 fine nearly doubles the fine imposed by the city of South Lake Tahoe. The city’s fee is $102 and increases with subsequent violations. Officials have stated the city’s penalty is a fair and moderate one.
County supervisors have the discretion to lower the Meyers snow tow fine if they deem the proposal unreasonable. According to Fifth District Supervisor John Upton, the Meyers proposal isn’t a bad idea.
“A substantial fine will get people’s attention,” Upton said. “They should know the appropriate behavior is to keep the street open for snow removal crews. This fine will drive it home a little bit more.”
The fines will be levied by the court system but Yang wants the Sheriff’s Department and DOT to be the main benefactors, with the intention of adding staff and equipment. There hasn’t been any word from the county that the fines could be used for the two departments.
Snow removal has historically been the main topic for the roundtable. Since last December, when Meyers was buried under several feet of snow, the organization has become more active in local politics.
The group applied pressure earlier this year to create a dedicated phone line for snow removal updates. Callers can punch in their zone number from a county grid to find where the nearest plower is located.
Roundtable members have also scheduled a meeting with Upton on Tuesday to discuss informing real estate agents about limiting the number of vehicles at their rental units. Property owners advertise up to 12 people can stay at some time shares and short-term rentals.
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