Seattle leaders say they may have a quick-fix for a problem identified in a KING 5 Investigation earlier this week.
During a meeting of the city council’s budget committee yesterday, officials admitted they have been missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue by failing to collect fines from chronic parking violators.
“Seattle Municipal Court has a hard time reaching those individuals because they’ve not got an available address,” budget director Beth Goldberg told the committee.
The court requires drivers be given ample warning that their car is about to be booted, locked in place by a wheel clamp until their outstanding tickets are paid.
Since potentially hundreds of chronic violators don’t have valid addresses, they’re able to escape the boot.
A KING 5 Investigation found 502 car owners with 10 or more outstanding parking tickets. That group had a combined 9,077 unpaid parking tickets.
Former Capitol Hill business owner Sophia Phillips tops the list with 146 unpaid tickets. Phillips had a California license plate and no current Washington address.
Goldberg says the city could target “scofflaws” like Phillips by placing the warning on the windshield of their cars instead of through mail.
“They would put on the vehicles themselves a reminder that people have outstanding tickets for cars for which we don’t have addresses,” said Goldberg.
That change, if approved by the council, would foster fairness in the boot program – and more revenue.
“That will bring in about $700,000 worth of revenue to the city,” Goldberg said. That dollar amount is the city's estimate of how much additional money would be generated by drivers whose cars have previously escaped the boot.