Youngstown clerk of courts calls for crackdown on those with numerous parking tickets


Clerk of courts asks council to consider proposed legislation

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark is calling for a crackdown on those who ignore dozens of parking tickets.

Brown-Clark asked city council Wednesday to consider legislation – when it’s introduced in the next few weeks – to allow police to put tire boots and/or windshield barnacles on vehicles of repeat offenders.

In particular, she said she wants to target 60 people who owe $150,000 total in unpaid parking tickets.

Overall, there’s about $1 million in unpaid parking tickets, with many of them written on cars downtown and near the Youngstown State University campus, Brown-Clark said.

Council members said they would discuss the proposal when the law department writes the legislation.

Towing vehicles is effective in getting people to pay delinquent parking tickets, but it’s time-consuming for police officers, Brown-Clark said.

Putting a tire boot or, even better, a barnacle – typically a yellow piece of plastic that covers the windshield – would be easier and just as effective in getting those with numerous tickets to pay up, she said.

Parking tickets are $10. The cost goes up to $20 if it’s not paid after 20 days and goes up to $30 if it’s unpaid after 30 days.

“If you get 39 parking tickets, you can’t tell me 39 blew off the window,” Brown-Clark said. “I want to go after the worst offenders. They’re thumbing their nose at us.”

The clerk of courts had an amnesty program for a week six years ago that allowed people to pay the original $10-per-ticket cost with the late fees waived.

It was helpful, but Brown-Clark said she doesn’t want to do another one because the worst offenders are waiting for that and not paying their tickets.

Also Wednesday, city council voted to repeal an ordinance that prohibits liquor establishments from being within 300 feet of a church or school.

“It’s an outdated piece of legislation,” said Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th, one of the ordinance’s co-sponsors.

The law, passed in 1947, hasn’t often been enforced, he said.

Council’s vote allows its members – after consideration from the planning commission – to vote on allowing businesses that sell alcoholic beverages within 500 feet of a school or church or another regulated-use business to open.

Other regulated uses, under city law, include tattoo parlors, adult bookstores and theaters, secondhand stores, pool halls, payday lending establishments and sweepstakes businesses.

“There are several levels of control through the [city’s] redevelopment code and state laws for liquor licenses,” Ray said.

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