More snow, more parking tickets.
That's the tale of the tape for many local residents throughout this year's winter season, as there's been a 125 percent increase in parking tickets doled out by the Mitchell Department of Public Safety for the combined months of December and January in comparison to last year's totals for the two months.
"We've had more significant snow this year, but we do everything we conceivably can to inform people about parking and snow removal routes," Assistant Police Chief Mike Koster said Thursday. "We get it to the media right away, but it's really important for people to stay alert to weather conditions during the winter."
According to a recent monthly data report, there were 305 parking tickets filed in December of 2018 and 134 for the month of January this year. However, in 2017-18, there were 174 parking tickets issued in December and 21 for January.
In the city of Mitchell, when there are 2 or more inches of snow accumulation, all vehicles must be removed from emergency snow routes, which increases the likelihood of more parking tickets being issued. Vehicles not removed from emergency snow routes - along with District A, which includes Main Street and one block on each side - are subject to being ticketed and towed.
However, Koster said vehicles parked along East-West and North-South streets are not immediately towed, but are issued a $25 snow removal ticket. If tickets aren't paid within 48 hours, the fee doubles to $50.
"We don't want to give out any tickets, but we have to get these streets clear and maintain safe roads for the citizens of Mitchell," Koster said.
When a vehicle is towed during snow removal, the process is unique in that the city uses four local tow services. Thus, a person must retrieve their vehicle at the specified towing company at a fixed cost the city agrees upon.
"The city negotiates a fee with those tow companies that they agree upon with the city, but there are modifications that affect towing costs," Koster said, which includes whether a car has to be dug out of a heavy amount of snow.
For citizens living in residential areas with snow removal routes, Koster recommends using the Nixle service, which is a snow removal route alert system that notifies people through phone and email.
"Nixle notifies what streets are being plowed, and it will announce when east and west street plowing begins prior the north and south street plowing, giving ample notice for people to remove those vehicles from the street prior to snow plows coming," Koster said.