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1/16/2013 4:48:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Snow removal in full swing now
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer

Winter season is in full swing and city staff want to remind the public about parking codes when the city starts to pile up with snow.

Cashmere Director of Operation Bob Schmidt said when there is three inches of snow on the ground and the snow is still falling, city staff heads out in the early morning to try and beat traffic and get the snow plowed.

During that time, a large portion of city staff will be working on snow removal including four snowplow drivers, a grader operator, a loader operator, and staff members with snow blowers for the sidewalks on school routes. Later in the day staff will work on snow removal on the bridges.

"We just about have nearly everybody out there working on something," Schmidt said. "It's a multiple hour, multiple person operation and the crews do the best they can."

According to the Cashmere City Municipal Code, snow removal from sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent landowners within 24-hours after snowfall. City staff's responsibility is clearing the streets but homeowners and business owners are responsible for sidewalks and driveways.

"We try to be logical. If there is a sidewalk or entry way that is often used we try and make sure it is cleaned up but for the most part homeowners and business owners are responsible for their sidewalks," Schmidt said.

The city staff also tries to clear sidewalks on school routes so children can safely walk to school and have a sidewalk to use. When shoveling or removing snow on private property or sidewalks, it is unlawful to put snow in city streets or alleys. Cashmere citizens can be fined for dumping snow onto city streets.

Schmidt said each year city staff has to speak with locals about dumping their snow on the roads.

During the snow season, the beginning of November through the end of March, parking is prohibited on the streets, city parking facility, or alleys of Cashmere between the hours of 4 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. This is important for city staff to have access to plow the snow. Schmidt said leaving a car parked on the streets during this time could result in a fine or the car being towed.

"A few people typically ignore those rules. We put warnings on vehicles during winter, little parking restriction orange tags. Once someone ignores that a few times we will call the Sheriffs Office and have them take care of it," Schmidt said. "This year we have had a few cars towed but we try and keep it light and use the tags as reminders."

Parking violations during the winter can cost up to $50.

Schmidt said each time it snows he gets around three to four calls in the office with people wondering when the streets will get plowed, or with questions about why there is snow pushed onto their property. He said mainly elderly people will call concerned about snowplows pushing snow onto their sidewalks or driveways.

"If we had to snowplow every sidewalk and driveway this would be a three day event every time it snowed. Our main priority is to clear the roads. When we go through a residential area we try and keep it even down the middle and push the snow both ways," Schmidt said.

As far as finances go, the city's budget is going according to plan when it comes to snow removal. Schmidt said the city of Cashmere hasn't seen a heavy winter for quite some time so the budget is adjusted to recent winters. He said city staff is good about budgeting the right amount for anticipated snow removal costs.

Overnight parking in Cashmere city parking lots is not allowed during the snow season or any other time during the year. There are designated areas on Aplets Way and by the library for people with no off-street parking. The city code also states no vehicle can be parked on any street, alley, or right of way for more than 48 hours.

To read about Cashmere's City Municipal Code, you can read an online version at the city website, at cityofcashmere.org. Schmidt said anyone with concerns about the snow or snow removal may call the Cashmere City Hall at 782-3513.

"Overall, we have had a normal snow season," Schmidt said. "It seemed like the first couple of snows hit the ground and froze so we ended up with a lot of compact ice and some of the backstreets were pretty rough. This warmer weather has helped with that and the streets are looking better each day."

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.

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