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Votes on City Snow Law Changes Expected

Creation of snow removal fund, revisions to snow removal ordinance go back to council tonight following discussion at last week's council meeting.

After discussing it last week, the Hyattsville City Council tonight will likely be voting on two measures which would make the city's snow removal ordinance more flexible and which would create a snow removal assistance fund to help seniors clear their walkways when wintry weather blankets the city. 

Currently, Hyattsville city code requires property owners and residents to clear their sidewalks in the public right-of-way within 24 hours after snow or sleet has stopped falling.

The revised snow removal ordinance wouldn't change that except to give the city's head code enforcement officer the discretion to extend the snow removal requirement time limit based on the severity of the snowstorm.

"It's designed for unusual snow events," explained Mayor Marc Tartaro during last week's meeting. 

The second measure before the council tonight would create a $12,000 grant fund to establish and administer a snow removal assistance fund for low-income elderly over the upcoming winter months. The measure calls for the program to be administered by a non-profit organization which would itself provide for snow removal services at an affordable price. Area non-profit organizations interested in administering in the program will be asked to submit a request for proposal outlining their plan. 

The measure authorizes the city administrator to spend an additional $10,000 in grant funding this winter on the program if the city has more than four snow events.

The program would be funded with money currently earmarked for salaries budgeted for vacant city staff positions. 

That didn't sit right with Councilor Tim Hunt (Ward 3), who said that the city should not be footing the bill for snow removal services. 

"I like everything in this but the city funding," said Hunt during last week's meeting. "I am hoping that we can use our non-profits to reach out to reputable organizations to provide services at a reasonable price that the resident would pay for and keep the city out of it."

But others, like Councilor Shani Warner (Ward 2), said that a snow assistance fund could be really helpful for many of the city's poorer elderly residents. 

"I think that there are a few programs that the city pays a small amount for to get started, or maybe on an annual basis, that have effects way out of proportion to the money we spend to make people's lives better," said Warner during last week's meeting. "I think this could be one of those programs."

Tartaro urged the city council to take action on the snow removal assistance fund soon. 

"It'll either snow this winter or it won't snow this winter," said Tartaro during last week's meeting. "But it'll be really good to have a program in place whether it snows or not."

The measures will be taken up by the Hyattsville City Council tonight at 8 p.m. in the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street.

BigDan November 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
At a affordable price? How about doing it free for seniors? Most of them have put up with the horrible crime and falling value of this craphole city, why not give them a break and do it for free? Once seniors are gone this city will be a ghost town (except for all the illegals moving in). I've had 5 friends buy houses in the last 2 years and when I asked them "why not hyattsville or PG county?" they just laughed. This city and this county is a pathetic joke.
Lsquared November 13, 2012 at 03:55 PM
The council could utilize the newsletter and reach out to neighbors of our senior residents, or anyone who cannot clear their walkways to help shovel an extra sidewalk. Do this the old fashioned way and just be neighborly - it's free and the right thing to do. No need to constantly rely on local govt. to foot the bill. BTW BigDan, I have been a Hyattsville resident for 48 years and have wonderful new neighbors who appreciate our city and our convenient location.
Michael L. Albertson November 13, 2012 at 10:38 PM
I'm sorry, but I think bigdan should move out of the hidden gem inside the beltway. What his complaints is what makes Hyattsville a great place to live and raise a family.
Michael Theis November 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Just a quick point of fact: housing values are not falling in Hyattsville or Prince George's County - http://hyattsville.patch.com/articles/prince-george-s-housing-market-rebounding

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