by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Parking illegally in the village of Elburn could soon get a lot more expensive, according to a rewrite of the traffic codes.
“It was a real bargain to get a parking ticket in Elburn,” Police Chief Steve Smith told the Village Board on Monday night.
The proposal, written for the Police Department by the office of the village attorney, Bob Britz, includes three tiers of fines for various classes of offenses, from minor petty offenses, such as parking tickets, to more serious offenses that could compromise public health, safety or welfare of residents or visitors, such as the storage of an inoperable or derelict vehicle. The amount of the fine increases with each additional time the offense is committed.
The new proposal, presented by Smith, recommends doubling the amount of the fines from what they had been. For example, currently a parking ticket carries with it a fine of $20. The new proposal is for a fine of $40 for the first offense, with a second offense at $80 and a third offense set at $120.
“Do we have a problem with people not paying their parking tickets?” asked trustee Ethan Hastert. “This seems a little steep to me.”
Hastert brought up a situation in which a commuter could pay the parking fee at the train station, but mix up the number of the stall he parked in, and receive a parking ticket for that offense.
Several other trustees expressed concern over the amount of the fines, including Bill Grabarek and Jeff Walter. Trustee Ken Anderson said that he just wanted to make up the amount that it costs the village to give someone a ticket.
“The Police Department should not be a profit center,” Hastert said. “Not everything the Police Department does needs to be a break-even.”
Village President Dave Anderson said that the board has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens to maintain a balanced budget.
Village staff will revisit the dollar amounts of the fines and the board will vote on the final version at an upcoming meeting.