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Parking Ticket Revenue Not As High As City Claimed

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 17, 2009 3:40PM

Photo by heyrocc
Remember a few weeks ago when there were conflicting media reports pertaining to the numbers the City's Department of Revenue was throwing out in regards to higher revenues from parking tickets? In October, the Dept. cited a jump in revenue to the tune of $7 million from January to August of 2009 over the same time period in 2008. But some claimed that revenue jump was due to the parking ticket amnesty program during the first quarter of '09 that encouraged people to pay outstanding tickets with no fear of additional penalties.

Indeed, a new report from the Sun-Times shows that revenue from May to August of 2009, after the amnesty period ended, is actually down - by almost $4 million - when compared to the same period last year even as the number of tickets issued has increased (12,000 more in that period over 2008). All of this comes in the wake of the City's controversial leasing of its meters to a private company that has seen increases in both hourly rates and enforcement. The Department of Revenue claims part of that alleged shortfall comes from the fact collection costs are no longer included in reported revenues. Still, some on the City Council are sounding as exasperated as city drivers.

Aldermen said their constituents are fighting mad when it comes to parking and tickets. "I agree we are in a bad revenue situation," said Ald. Tom Allen, (38th Ward). "But I'm tired of us beating the daylights out of John Q. Citizen to get 50 bucks out of him because he overstayed his parking."

"At every community meeting, people are questioning us about the fact that we are attempting to collect more revenue from the tickets," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, (6th Ward).

Of course, when area falls short, that just means you have to search somewhere else to find gold and the city responded in kind last week by upping the enforcement hours for booting cars.