News Flash Home
The original item was published from 9/18/2014 9:05:54 AM to 10/3/2014 12:05:00 AM.

News Flash

Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: September 18, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Pay up: County after worst parking fine offenders

Butte-Silver Bow is hoping to “close the book” on unpaid parking tickets issued under an old system – but it’s still trying to get the worst offenders to pay up.

And new fine-dodgers could eventually face a penalty new to Butte: The boot -- a locking device placed on a vehicle’s tire that prevents it from moving.

The county parking commission on Wednesday agreed to send further notices to people with tickets in excess of $50, but cut others left in a discarded system loose.

The department installed a new computer and system a few months ago that spits out tickets on the spot through hand-held electronic devices, tracks violations and links with a state database so it’s easier and faster to find vehicle owners who have been fined.

This is the latest move taken by a department that for years has operated in the red and relied on implicit loans from the county to keep operating. The deficit at the start of the year was $107,000.

About 30 vehicle owners who owe a combined $2,135 will be notified. Time lapses between when the tickets were issued and when owners were notified might prevent legal action, but the collection notices are still an option.

It also increased fines for violations and made the penalties steeper for subsequent offenses.

Only the most prolific payment offenders will be in risk of landing on a “boot hotlist,” Parking Commission Director Stephanie Marshall said, and only after a lengthy process.

After 10 unpaid tickets parking officials will file a complaint with the county attorney’s office. The offender will be given a chance to appear in court.

“If they fail to, then they can get a boot,” Marshall said.

Such actions aren’t meant to be punitive measures, but are focused on changing behaviors.

“We’re going to try to take a community friendly approach,” she said. “We’re in the education phase of a lot of this.”

Read the full story in the Montana Standard
Facebook Twitter Email