Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Boots bring in the dough

New Ketchum policy nets $8,000 in two weeks

Express Staff Writer

One of the Ketchum Police Department’s two “boots” in action last week. So far the city has used them against 13 parking offenders. Photo by Mountain Express

Since purchasing two wheel clamps at the end of November, the Ketchum Police Department has collected nearly $8,000 in outstanding parking citations.

Ketchum Police Department spokesperson Kim Rogers said the two wheel clamps, or boots, have been put into action 13 times, bringing in an average of about $600 per use. An additional $650 has been collected in boot removal fees, each of which costs offenders $50.

Use of the wheel clamps is part of an attempt to recover fines from parking offenders who have three or more outstanding tickets. Rogers said there are 4,117 unpaid parking tickets, worth $117,142, on the city's books. She said the 13 vehicles targeted so far were responsible for a combined 247 tickets.

Ketchum Police Sgt. Dave Kassner said the city mailed 152 letters to those repeat offenders in late September and has since received over $40,000 from about 50 people. He said the average amount owed by drivers with multiple outstanding tickets is about $300.

Rogers said that while she understands that it can be frustrating to be forced to pay a fine, especially with the holidays approaching, these drivers shouldn't be surprised to find their cars immobilized given the number of tickets they've accumulated.

The city ordinance regulating parking violations allows one warning before a vehicle is issued a ticket. If a Ketchum parking enforcement officer spots a vehicle with three or more outstanding tickets, it will be immobilized.

Kassner said that if a car remains immobilized with the boot for more than 12 hours, it will be towed and impounded at the owner's expense. The charge for the tow is $100 in addition to a daily storage fee of $35.

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