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Street utility fee is non-negotiable

We pay taxes for street maintenance. However the street sweeper has not been able to clean in front of our house for the last year due to neighbors always parking and blocking the length of our property. Since we pay taxes for this but don’t get the service, is there something we can do?

— Brenda D., Medford

Brenda, if it helps, don’t think of it as a street sweeper fee because it’s not.

“Everybody pays the same street utility fee in Medford even if you live on a street that isn't currently in county jurisdiction, because it’s payment for the system not for your street,” said Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin.

The street sweeping program is designed to keep gunk out of Bear Creek, not to keep the pavement clean, Crebbin said. For this reason, the program is financed under the city’s storm drain budget.

Brenda, because the street in front of your house is public right of way, it’s perfectly legal, albeit frustrating, for your neighbors to park there.

However, just because they can park there doesn't mean they can leave their cars there for extended periods of time.

Under Medford Municipal Code 6.345, your neighbors could be fined for “storing” their car in the roadway for five or more consecutive days without moving it.

If that’s the case, contact Medford police, who will come out and mark the tires and leave a notice. If your neighbors move it, no action will be taken. But if, five days later, the car is still there, your neighbors will be fined $150, as well as $150 for each subsequent day the car is left there, said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

Tattling may not make great neighbors, but it’s one way to ensure your streets are swept.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.