Friday December 21, 2007
The Parking Authority of River City will resume booting vehicles of parking scofflaws, following a victory in federal court
PARC voluntarily agreed in April to stop using the wheel-locking device after eleven people filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city’s enforcement approach violates the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled last week that PARC’s approach does not violate the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments — and he remanded the case to state court.
In an effort to avoid more legal maneuvers to delay enforcement, PARC will begin sending certified letters to vehicle owners who have outstanding parking tickets and will pass the added cost of those letters to those violators.
Starting in the new year, PARC will resume booting vehicles that have three or more outstanding parking tickets and have been sent certified letters, said PARC executive director Cathy Duncan.
About 21,000 scofflaws will be receiving certified letters warning them to pay their overdue parking tickets or risk having the boot attached to their cars upon their next violation. The cost of the overdue tickets will be increased from $25 to $30 to cover the added costs of certified mail.
Those 21,000 people owe nearly 110,000 parking tickets, totaling $2.8 million.
Beginning Jan. 1, PARC will begin sending certified letters to all vehicle owners who get parking tickets and fail to pay within 21 days.
A central issue in the legal battle has been PARC’s use of first-class mail rather than the more costly certified mail approach.
“The vast majority of people pay their parking fees on time, so this new approach will not affect them,” Duncan said. “The enforcement of the parking laws is important because, unfortunately, some people treat on-street parking as their own personal space. That’s not good for our city — and it’s not good for business.”
Here’s how the revised enforcement policy will work:
- Once people receive a parking ticket, they have 7 days to pay the $15 fine or appeal the citation.
- After eight days, a late fee is assessed and the cost increases to $25. PARC sends, via first class mail, a courtesy letter reminding people they still owe a ticket. This letter will tell people they will have an additional 7 days to pay their tickets or appeal the citation.
- If payment is not received within 7 days after sending the courtesy letter, a certified letter will be mailed and the cost of the ticket increases to $30. People will lose their appeal rights if they have not responded within 7 days.