Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Town of Elon writes off over $10K in unpaid parking tickets

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Over the past 12 months or so, the town of Elon has taken in over $24,000 in fines from the parking tickets that the town’s police department has distributed to drivers who’ve gotten a little too comfortable in the town’s two-hour parking spots.

But this bounty begins to look a whole lot less enviable when compared to the parking fines that the town is ultimately unable to collect.

On Tuesday, Elon’s town council gave the town’s finance director the go ahead to write off some $10,200 in fines and late fees from tickets that were originally written more than 3 years ago.

Kathy Barham, the town’s finance director, informed the council that this sum represents the total unpaid proceeds from 126 tickets that were issued between August of 2021 and June of 2022. Barham added that this figure includes fines worth a total of $3,525 as well as another $6,675 in late fees that were assessed on top of the original penalties.

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The relative size of this sum raised some concerns for the council about the town’s ability to exact payments from delinquent parking offenders. Barham conceded that, unlike property taxes, which can be enforced through liens or the garnishment of wages, the town has few viable methods for collecting overdue parking fines.

Richard Roedner, Elon’s town manager, recalled that a recent decision by the council has given the town one enforcement mechanism that it didn’t have in the past.

“If they don’t pay it, we can now tow them,” he recalled. “But if they’ve left town, there’s not a whole lot we can do.”

Roedner added that the town’s towing policy only applies to repeat parking offenders – who may be content to play the odds if they’re short-term visitors or students from out of state with imminent plans to return home.

Roedner recalled that, in addition to introducing towing for problem parkers, the council has increased the fines associated with the town’s parking tickets. The current fee schedule, which the council approved just over a year ago, raised the base fee for parking too long in a time-limited space from $25 to $40 per violation. In the meantime, the late fees associated with these tickets went up from $35 to $65 for violators who don’t settle up within 15 days and from $75 to $100 for those who are still delinquent after 45 days.

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