Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where the City Parking Fines Are Going, by Sam Giunta

            There is much speculation where the money from city parking tickets goes and what sort of motivation the police department has to give so many.  In excess of sixty thousand tickets were given out within a year, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking fines.
            Many think that police officers have a quota of tickets to make out per month.  A UWL student who recently received a parking ticket says, “It was the end of the month, and I think they were just trying to make their quota.”                                                                                             

             However, the motivation for giving out so many thousands of tickets is more monetary.  The city assumes a budget that includes a specific amount of fine money—this is reason for common suspicions of ticket quotas.  Money from parking tickets goes to the La Crosse general fund, parking utility and the MTU.  Considering the amount of tickets given, namely alternate side parking tickets, many in the La Crosse area are unhappy with the increasing number of dollars they pay for parking mistakes.  Another UWL student who has already paid three alternate side parking tickets says “I’m getting tired of this.” 

            In years past, suggestions have been made to give parking violators more leeway. Suggestions include a graduated fine scale and warning tickets.  These would give first time offenders less harsh penalties for their infractions while making sure there would be fewer repeat offences.  Among the weaknesses of these suggestions,  it would reduce the revenue that La Crosse could use.