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Valley towns warn residents about snow removal law

FORT KENT, Maine — Police and town officials in Fort Kent, Madawaska and Frenchville would like to remind people that it is illegal and potentially dangerous to shovel, snowblow or plow snow onto town roads or sidewalks.

Maine Revised Statute 29-A reads: “A person may not place and allow to remain on a public way (road and or sidewalk)  snow or slush that has not accumulated there naturally.”

The fine for violating the law is at least $150 and can be as high as $500 per violation.

FKPD Sgt. Dalen Boucher said people who disobey the law put others at risk.

“It doesn’t only mean where cars travel; it also means you’ve got to keep the sidewalks clear,” Boucher said. “Pedestrians who encounter snow covered sidewalks can twist an ankle or step into the road to avoid the snow and possibly get struck by a car. We don’t want anyone to get injured.”

Madawaska Town Manager Gary Picard, along with new Public Works Director Kevin Dube said crews will be working to clear and widen the roads in town over the next few weeks by snowblowing the snow into the town easements.  

“We’ve been hit hard already in our budget with snow removal because winter started so early and we’ve had so much snow already,” Picard said. “The cost of hauling that snow away is considerable.”

Those who place snow in the roads or sidewalks also increase costs to the town because public works employees have to remove the snow on top of their regular snow removal duties, according to Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier.

“It’s more labor intensive for the town, so be cognizant of where you’re putting your snow. It isn’t the town’s responsibility to remove your snow so don’t put it in the town’s right of way,” Pelletier said.

Still, residents have concerns about where to put their snow, according to Dube. He said the public works department’s main concern is the safety of the people, but rather than cite people for violations, Dube would rather educate them and help them figure out where to put their excess snow.

“I wish I could pick up everybody’s snow to make it easier,” Dube said. “We understand that people are running out of places to put their snow.”

Dube is urging Madawaska residents to call Public Works at 728-3607 with questions or concerns regarding where to put their snow.

“I’ll work with you as long as you’re willing to work with me,” Dube said.

Parking on streets and in town-owned parking lots within town limits also is prohibited from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. to allow public works employees to remove snow and clear the streets. Violations of this ordinance will result in vehicles being towed at the owner’s expense.

 

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