George McNeil was furious.

"We all ended up with tickets this morning," he said outside his Johnston Street home in Newburgh.

McNeil said he and several others moved their cars twice on Sunday to accommodate snow plows.

"We thought we were doing the right thing," he said.

The City of Newburgh declared a snow emergency on Saturday which triggered a strict set of parking rules to afford plow trucks enough space to clear the city's streets.

Newburgh Police Lt. Frank Labrada said on Monday that parking enforcement officers ticketed 854 cars and towed 114 over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Assuming each infraction was committed by a different resident, more than three percent of Newburgh's population was cited over the weekend.

The parking tickets came with a fine of $50, and the cost to recover a towed car was $200, according to one person whose car was towed.

Eight neighbors on Johnston Street told Spectrum News they had been ticketed.

The neighbors told a similar story: Police drove down the street at about 3 a.m. Sunday and warned residents over their intercom system to move their cars from the east side of the street to the west side of the street so the east side could be plowed.

Neighbors did that.

Then later in the day when they noticed the east side was plowed, they moved their cars back over so the west side of Johnston Street could be plowed.

They woke up Monday morning to tickets wedged in their driver-side doors.

Police pointed Spectrum News to the city's snow emergency parking rules which state that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning at 6 p.m. and going until 6 p.m. the next day, Newburgh residents must park their cars on the south and east sides of all city streets. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends, beginning at 6 p.m., they must park on the north and west sides.

Several neighbors said the rule system is confusing.

"They go by south, north, east, west," mused Brandy Chacha, who we met outside the police department as she was trying to track down her car that was towed overnight, "and I just don't get it."

Speaking by phone on Monday afternoon, Newburgh Interim City Manager Joseph Donat said city staff informed the best they could with posts on social media, intercom announcements in neighborhoods where the parking rules have not been closely followed in the past and signs throughout the city which partly state the rules.

"I've been in this city during previous storms when the rules weren't adhered to and weren't enforced, and seen how treacherous it can make the roads," Donat said. "...This is a matter of public safety."

McNeil said he and his neighbors were using "common sense" when moving their cars back to the east side of the street, and that he and at least one other resident plan to contest their tickets.

Both city administrators and police invite the public to call the police department or city hall with questions or concerns about parking rules during a snow emergency.

City administrators can be reached at 845-569-7301.

City police can be reached at 845-561-3131.