City council approved legislation making it easier for the clerk of courts to collect parking-ticket fees, and authorized the board of control to hire a company to build a new fire station.
Council voted 7-0 Wednesday to permit the board to spend up to $780,000 for a new fire station in Ipes Field on the city’s South Side.
Construction on the station likely would start in June and be done in September, said Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr.
It would replace the 90-year-old Fire Station No. 9 on the corner of Midlothian Boulevard and Sheridan Road that has structural problems as well as rats, mold and water leaks, O’Neill said.
“It’s a longtime dream of mine” to have a new station in that area, said Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, a retired firefighter. “It’s been a long time coming for that community.”
Council also permitted the board of control to spend $1,045,816.30 over the next decade to buy a 95-foot aerial truck for the fire department. It replaces a 22-year-old 100-foot aerial truck that is in bad shape, O’Neill said.
Also Wednesday, council voted 7-0 to permit the clerk of courts to create a parking-violations bureau.
Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark said the bureau would allow the city to take civil action against those who don’t pay parking tickets.
“We’ve had no teeth in the law,” she told city council. “People feel no obligation to pay because we can’t enforce it.”
The city is keeping its current parking-ticket fees of $10 if paid within 10 days of receiving a citation, $20 after 20 days and then to $30 after 30 days.
New legislation would allow the city to impound or lock vehicles for habitual parking-ticket offenders.
Brown-Clark will offer amnesty for six days, April 29 through May 4. During that time, those owing parking-ticket fees could pay the original $10 cost per ticket without the late penalties if their entire fines are paid during those six days.
During closing remarks, Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, complained that the city wasn’t doing enough to make sure blacks, Hispanics and women receive contracts for city work, and not enough are being hired by companies doing work for the city.
If companies don’t hire enough minorities and women, they shouldn’t be permitted to do work for the city, she said.
She also said more women and minorities need to be hired for city jobs. For years, the city had separate lists for civil-service jobs in the police and fire departments — one for white men and one for minorities and women to help hire the latter two.
The city eliminated the two lists two years ago after a similar scenario in Louisiana was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.