Davenport snow emergency violations result in over $20,000 in costs to car owners parked in downtown and Hilltop neighborhoods

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The city of Davenport ticketed and towed 78 vehicles in violation of the city’s second snow emergency Monday night.

According to the city’s Public Works Director, Nicole Gleason, the vehicles were left parked on streets throughout downtown as crews worked to clear the snow piles left behind from last weekend’s snow storm.

During a second snow emergency, issued specifically for downtown and parts of the Hilltop neighborhood, cars must be moved from city streets before work begins at 10 p.m. on the night of the emergency. Vehicles left on the road are given a $35 ticket from the city, in addition to the vehicle being towed to Fred’s Towing. Gleason says in order for car owners to get their vehicle back from Fred’s they are charged a fee.

“Fees from Fred’s are estimates because oversized vehicles can be charged more, but generally around $230,” Gleason said.

The city put out its first notice of the snow emergency “36 or more hours in advance” of the emergency. City code does not say how much notice must be given ahead of a snow emergency, however; it does state the only notification requirement is “proper notice of the emergency and the terms and conditions thereof” be listed on the city’s website. Gleason said texts messages are sent to those impacted and who have signed up through the city’s notification system. Blue snow emergency lights were also turned on throughout the downtown area “as a courtesy” according to Gleason.

Gleason said vehicles were not ticketed during the first snow emergency over the weekend.

“Due to the very late change in forecast (late Friday morning, the forecast went from 2 to 4 inches of snow – we ended up with even more), we were not able to get ticket teams out in time for the event Friday night, so unfortunately, we were unable to issue city wide snow route tickets for this event,” Gleason wrote in an email “We did still declare the emergency in an effort to clear roads as well as possible with the volume of snow.”

According to Gleason, 400 vehicles were ticketed during snow emergencies issued from the snow storm at the end of November. It is unclear how many of those were also vehicles that were towed.

TV6 has asked the city if it receives any portion of the fees collected by Fred’s towing and for a copy of the contract the city has with the towing company. Our request for that information has not been provided.