Congratulations to Mayor John Engen. He has found still another source of revenue. Soon to be added to the list of increased real estate taxes, permit fees, special improvement district taxes and fines, among others, will be increased snow shoveling penalties/fines. And in reality these charges are indeed fines and not fees.
Now we have been told that the city presently only cites about nine or 10 snow shoveling violations a year. But with (proposed) new whopping charges of a $150 administrative fee plus $175 for the first half hour and $325 each hour thereafter, you can bet the city will be doing nine to 10 citations a day!
Just last week the U.S. Supreme Court once again ruled against excessive fines. I would not be surprised if someone will contest these shoveling fines, and then these fines will be ruled excessive, even by the local courts. Are we going to once again wait until the district court or the Montana Supreme Court rules against Missoula, and tens of thousands of dollars have been spent by the city on legal fees? Where is our city attorney on this?
And these penalties come just in time for those elderly residents on the Slant Streets who are going to be paying close to $40,000 for sidewalks in front of their homes that they bought years ago for half that amount. So the residents of new sidewalks will be charged $325 if they don't have them shoveled by 9 a.m. Boy, aren't they lucky how the city is looking out for their best interest. "They" being the city politicians and bureaucrats.
Once again, our increased city tax dollars at work.
Fred R. Luety,