SHAMOKIN - The city is offering prorated snow plow permits for the remainder of the winter - either that or a citation.

Permits normally cost $50. City council amended an existing ordinance on Thursday to prorate the cost through March 31. The amendment didn't provide detail on how great the reduction will be, although $20 or less was discussed.

Rick Bozza, code enforcement officer, said the permits apply to anyone with a plow of any variety, be it on a pickup truck, an ATV or a piece of heavy equipment like a skid loader. It does not apply to snow blowers.

If a plow is used in the city, a permit is required - whether it's a contractor plowing for a fee or a citizen plowing their own property, Bozza said.

Anyone found plowing snow without a permit will be cited, said Mayor William D. Milbrand.

Hazards created

City officials have been irked by the continued piling of snow near intersections. Bozza said he and Kevin Richardson, street department foreman, got "beat up" after last week's snowfall by citizens lodging complaints about snow-plowers.

One contractor was paid $150 to clear snow on Chestnut Street, Bozza said. The snow was pushed between islands on Market Street. It caused a large enough

hazard that city workers hauled it away, and it took 15 truckloads to do so, he said.

"They got paid to do it and our guys spent hours ... to remove the snow," Bozza said.

Milbrand said such work takes city employees away from obligations such as clearing the business district and intersections.

"The private snow-plowers are making piles and the city employees have to come and haul those piles away. The man-hours and the labor that it's costing to do all of that is ridiculous," Milbrand said.

Fines $100-$1,000

Bozza has asked for the support of the city police department in citing violators of the existing snow plow ordinance. An ordinance violation, such as for plowing without a permit or for illegally dumping snow, can bring a fine from $100 to $300. Dumping snow into a body of water like the Shamokin Creek can bring a fine of $1,000.

The directive for the permit push came from Councilman R. Craig Rhoades, public safety director, and Charlie Verano, public works director, Bozza said.

Bozza had suggested that permits be issued at no cost for the remainder of 2014. Upon further consideration, city council decided to issue prorated permits.

"Those guys plow one block, they get $100, $150 in a block," said Police Chief Edward Griffiths.

Snow plow permits for 2014-15 will remain at $50 and will be valid from Oct. 1 through March 31, 2015.

Councilman David Kinder suggested anyone plowing snow on city streets should be obligated to remove it. Others on council agreed, but no one had an answer as to where the snow could be legally dumped.