Weissport Borough Council is considering adopting an ordinance that would impose a fee of $250 per handicapped parking request.

The council said the amount is to cover the cost of the materials and labor to establish the parking spaces.

Such a fee is ridiculous.

First of all, in general handicapped individuals have limited earning power. Many are senior citizens on a fixed income. For them, $250 is a lot of money; funds they might need for their medicines or heat.

Second, Weissport doesn't have a full-time police department to enforce the handicapped parking rules. While handicapped parking spaces are needed in any community, the borough must have a means of enforcing the ordinance.

Third, the cost is more than virtually any other community charges for such signage.

Being handicapped is difficult for anyone. Whether it's a handicap that requires a wheelchair or an invisible one such as a heart condition, it's not easy for the individual forced to park a block away from his or her residence.

The federal government knows what a difficult time handicapped people have. That why they have the Americans With Disabilities Act. This Act requires that businesses, industries, professional buildings, government offices, post offices, and libraries are handicapped accessible. Where possible, handicapped parking is also a requirement.

Passing an ordinance that makes a handicapped parking sign so expensive to obtain is heartless, unnecessary, and an overall poor decision. Hopefully, Weissport Borough Council re-thinks the action and adopts more realistic regulations.

On a related note, when handicapped parking signs are installed, parking enforcement is necessary. Again, if a council grants someone approval for installation of a handicapped parking place, that means it is deemed the individual at that address has a viable handicap.

It doesn't mean the person has a luxury. It implies that the individuals could have life-threatening complications by being forced too far away from a residence, especially during foul weather.

Weissport officials must get rid of their shallow thinking and do the right thing.

It's not wrong to charge a nominal fee for a handicapped parking sign. What Weissport is proposing amounts to gouging.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]