The Fairmont City Council this week raised the fine for 24-hour parking following heavy snowfalls from $10 to $50. The idea is to compel vehicle owners to get their cars off the street so plows can do their jobs. The city also is concerned about the narrowing of city streets as snow piles up, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through.
Every winter, we see cars left on the street that get plowed in. Whether this is something that slips owners' minds or is a result of deliberate laziness doesn't really matter. The cars need to be moved. We do have to wonder if the bigger fine will get the job done. Perhaps what is needed is to more quickly tow away the offending vehicles. Owners could pay a fine to retrieve their car.
In any case, the city is being reasonable with its new fine. It only applies during winter - Nov. 15 through April 15. And residents without garages or wide driveways are being exempted from rules prohibiting parking on lawns during that time period.
Those who do not pay their fine will get a letter from the city advising them to do so. Those who continue to ignore the fine will face an arrest warrant.
Police Chief Greg Brolsma hits the nail on the head when he says residents have a responsibility to know what they can and cannot do while living within the confines of civil society. One thing they need to do is be responsible car owners in wintertime. If they refuse, the city must act in the name of everyone's safety.