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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

City Running Short on Parking Fines

There was an odd moment last night when Finance Director Paul Navazio was presenting an update on the budget, one of the areas that had a shortfall was in public safety. It turned out they were running a deficit on parking fine and vehicle infractions. And we're not talking about chump change, it was in the tens of thousands if not higher.

Basically right now the city relies on the enforcement of parking violations as a steady source of revenue. What has happened however is that as they have gone to more and more strict systems of enforcement, the revenue has fallen off. With the implementation of the new GPS system and the no re-parking policy, the number of parking citations that have been issued has apparently fallen, moreover the expense of the system has risen. And so there is now a budget shortfall because the number of violations fell short of projections.

You have a catch 22 system going--you have a system that relies on people breaking the law in order to finance it. That seems archaic at best. You want to people to commit fewer not more violations of the law and yet you have budgeted the revenue from parking violations. It is just an odd system.

It seemed that the council acknowledged that this system is problematic at best and that you should not be relying on the revenue from parking violations to make your budget, and so I would guess that in the future they will fix the system.

So this is an item more of bemusement than of true criticism, but you still have to say... only in Davis is a reduction of traffic and parking violations a bad thing. (Actually I'm pretty sure that other cities problem have similar problems).

---Doug Paul Davis reporting