Spicer approves stricter winter parking rules
SPICER --There will be more winter parking restrictions in Spicer after the council approved an ordinance Wednesday. Vehicles will no longer be allowed on public streets from 2 to 6 a.m. Nov. 1 through April 15. That rule had been implemented in ...
SPICER --There will be more winter parking restrictions in Spicer after the council approved an ordinance Wednesday.
Vehicles will no longer be allowed on public streets from 2 to 6 a.m. Nov. 1 through April 15.
That rule had been implemented in downtown Spicer, but public works director Dan Haats requested stricter rules to make plowing easier and more efficient on the rest of city streets.
Plowing around vehicles is difficult, especially when cars are parking on both sides of the street, Haats has said.
"The time is now," he told the council as snow fell outside.
The council discussed whether to restrict parking throughout the winter or to only have vehicles off the streets during declared snow emergencies.
Most of the council agreed on restricting parking every winter night because it conforms to the existing ordinance.
Councilwoman Marlys Larsen said she liked the snow emergency idea better. She also asked the council where people would park their cars if they didn't have a driveway or enough space when they had guests.
"When I visit other cities, there's always a place to park," she said. "I feel we have a responsibility to provide that."
Mayor Bill Taylor said people could use the downtown city lot. The council also discussed whether the state Department of Natural Resources lot west of state Highway 23 could be used.
The council approved the ordinance 4-1 with Larsen voting against.
In the ordinance, the city can remove any vehicle that obstructs traffic or hinders snow removal. The vehicle owner will be responsible for towing and storage costs. The owner will also be fined $25 for violating the ordinance.
The towing company the city hires, Deering Sales Service and Towing, typically charges $169.50 a tow, Haats said.
The city is planning to adopt the Minnesota basic code next year and a public hearing will be held before its approval. At that time, the council could change the winter parking rules.
Also at the meeting, the council approved charging city residents for fire service starting next year and also approved increasing those service fees.
Before, only township residents served by the Spicer Fire Department and owners of vehicles that started on fire were billed for service.
The department decided to bill Spicer residents as well because the township residents also pay taxes for fire service, city administrator Kimberly Wothe said. Charging city residents makes the billing "more even across the board," she said.
Starting Jan. 1, the department will bill property and vehicle owners $350 per call or for the first hour of service instead of $200. Each additional hour or fraction thereof will cost $250, which is up from the current $100 fee.
Fire alarms will be billed as a fire call unless they're cancelled before the fire department arrives. All false alarms over three to the same address in one calendar year will be billed even if they are cancelled, according to the ordinance.
Those who needed fire service will be billed even if insurance doesn't cover it.
In other business, the council:
- Approved advertising for bids for a new pumper truck for the fire department. The truck is expected to cost $240,000 with $210,000 of that cost coming from a department equipment fund.
The truck is replacing an older truck and will take six months to a year to arrive.
- Approved 3-2 allocating $45,564 for two lighted welcome signs that will be put up next spring north and south of town. Council members Ron Schneider and Larsen voted against the motion because they thought the signs were too expensive. The signs will be paid for with reserves.