Local lawn contractor can’t afford to work in city

Historic City News was contacted this morning by Patrick McGee, the owner of McGee and Sons, a local lawn care and home services contractor.  Although McGee says he has work in the city, he can’t afford to help those customers because, when he brings his equipment to their residences, he faces parking tickets with fines greater than what he charges for the service.

Today, McGee said he was contracted by a city homeowner, so he was requested to be on site.  The total job time to mow the lawn was less than 15 minutes, according to McGee.  Even though there was no obstruction to vehicle traffic, his vehicle was parked in plain view in case he needed to move it for emergency vehicles.

“I just got a parking ticket for parking on a yellow line by a parking attendant who was parking on a yellow line,” McGee told Historic City News local reporters.  “My truck is over 35-feet in length and, since I had to mow the driveway, I could not park there. The parking attendant gave me a second ticket for parking faced in the wrong direction.”

McGee said the customer bill was $40.00, but the tickets totaled $45.00.

“I have a picture of the city parking vehicle, also parked on the yellow line,” McGee wrote.  Since the parking attendant was breaking the same ordinance he was issuing McGee a ticket for, McGee says he will dispute the validity of the fines.

Police explained that homeowners can request a yellow curb. It generally marks a fire hydrant, or prevents obstruction of traffic flow, or blocking of driveways — none of which apply in this circumstance.

McGee contacted a high-level friend at the St Augustine Police Department and explained his frustration.  The friend said the tickets would stand, but that he could dispute them.  McGee says he intends to. McGee reported that he was advised that his friend would bring up future yellow curb considerations for contractors with the traffic committee.

“I’m concerned about elderly residents in downtown St Augustine, living at home.  I was recognized by the city as a returning veteran in 2003 and a former volunteer fireman. I am not a bum,” McGee told us.  “I run a business and have two jobs scheduled next week in the city; but, with poor to no parking, I may have to cancel both if I’m going to be fined, harassed, and at this point, maybe even targeted.”