An ordinance is being drawn up that will establish guidelines for parking on
all Burns Harbor town streets prior to, during and after snow events.
The new law likely will include authorization to have residents’ illegally
parked vehicles towed at owner expense and for repeated violations, towing
and a fine.
“Is there any way we can do anything about parking? It is truly just insane
in the neighborhood subdivisions,” Burns Harbor street superintendent Randy
Skalku told the Town Council on Wednesday night.
Skalku described gridlock at times after this past weekend’s blizzard
because cars often were parked in the street across from each other making
it almost impossible to squeeze a plow between them. When he could, that
left some cars buried.
Another problem, Skalku added, was residents plowing/shoveling snow into the
streets complicating the situation.
Town marshal Mike Heckman said property owners can incur liability if
accidents occur as a result of them moving their snow onto public streets.
Residents have been urged to park on their own property before, said
councilman Jeff Freeze. “I’d rather have this be a self-governing situation
but we’ve seen it’s not working and probably need something to give the
Police Department some teeth (for enforcement).”
Building commissioner/fire chief Bill Arney described ways parking could be
regulated for snowfalls, and associate town attorney Chuck Parkinson was
asked to prepare a draft ordinance for future consideration.
Overall, councilman and Street Department liaison Gene Weibl commended
employees for what he described as the incredible job they did in the face
of extreme conditions. “We were far and above everyone out there taking care
of business and keeping things good.”
That’s despite equipment break-downs that temporarily left the Street
Department with one truck and one loader while emergency repairs were being
Skalku proposed the purchase of a 5-ton 2014 truck he’s found that’s
immediately available with the features he wants but because of the price,
clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said bids will have to be solicited. Parkinson
said exceptions can be made for certain reasons, but an effort has to be
made first to obtain other bids so that will be done expeditiously.
Jordan also was asked by the council to seek proposals from banks to finance
the purchase over time since the truck will be used for several years.
The council’s next regular meeting was set for Feb. 5 but members may
convene earlier for the truck bids and other reasons.
Heckman praised town residents for heeding warnings not to venture out in
the blizzard during a state of emergency. The town only had three reportable
accidents not counting slide-offs, the marshal added.
Arney also thanked Skalku’s crew for keeping access open and roads clear to
the Fire Department and its station, which was open as a warming shelter.
Park Board member Marcus Rogala added that department’s thanks for plowing
roads in Lakeland Park.
Jordan asked how she should handle payroll for town employees who didn’t
come into work Monday due to the blizzard; the town policy manual does not
address the situation. The council, minus Weibl, decided absent employees
have to use a personal or vacation day.
Weibl had left the meeting due to illness after giving his reports.