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Parking money rolls in

By Staff | Mar 27, 2009

Wayne Collier, of Martinsburg, drops a quarter in a parking meter along German Street Wednesday. He and his wife traveled to Shepherdstown to visit the library and local shops. In February, the Corporation of Shepherdstown collected $12,673 in quarters from downtown meters.

Free parking in Shepherdstown is getting expensive for those who abuse the privilege.

The Shepherdstown Parking Committee, with the endorsement of the Town Council, has passed more stringent fines for motorists who decide to overstay their welcome in 90-minute, open parking zones.

Parking tickets for 90-minute and residential zone violations have been increased from $25 to $40.

Standard parking tickets for metered zones remain at $10. The fee for a parking ticket in metered zones doubles if it is not paid within 24 hours.

But even these fines could be a lot worse – like $60 worse.

“Anywhere from zero to $100 is officer discretion,” Parking Enforcement Officer Brooke Brining says, referring to the little-known town ordinance that allows the police to issue parking tickets up to $100 for any violation, including parking at an expired meter.

Also, under a new state mandate, the town has raised the fine for illegally parking in a handicap-designated spot to a $200 minimum.

Town parking enforcement is undertaken primarily by Brining and Mary Capistran. The ubiquitous duo ride all over town in a covered green golfcart with baby moon hub caps.

Brining says she sees a “spike” in parking violations with the start of each new semester for Shepherd University students. Monitoring the town’s various parking zones – 90-minute open parking, residential-only, loading zones, meters, handicap, free non-profit spots, Town Hall parking – keeps the Police Department busy.

According to Brining’s tally 1,034 tickets have been written from Jan. 9 to Feb. 9 for various parking violations.

For the 2008 calendar year, 7,594 tickets were issued. And in 2007, police wrote 7,745.

But the largest slice of the parking fees pie comes from law-abiding drivers. This February alone, $12,673 worth of quarters, dimes and nickels (and the occasional penny) were dropped into parking meters, according to the most recent spreadsheets.

The total meter money collected so far for the 2008-09 fiscal year – which began June 30, 2008 and ends July 1 – is $86,878.

The fiscal year total parking meter money for 2007-08 was $137,222. Last year, meter money accounted for the largest traffic-related fee pool collected by the Police Department.

Parking tickets generated $102,724. Citations for moving violations brought in $97,689. And residential and business parking permit fees added up to $7,625 the last fiscal year.

In total $345,260 was collected for parking and traffic fees and fines in 2007-08, according to Police Department records.

Other fee increases enforced by the Shepherdstown Police Department include the following:

A vehicle that has $50 or more in outstanding parking tickets will be booted – fitted with a locking, mechanical device on one of the wheels, rendering the vehicle undrivable until all fines are paid. The Police Department’s “boot list” – which includes still-at-large violators that have more than the $50 in unpaid tickets – usually stands around 75 to 100 cars. The boot fine has been increased to $100, pending final Council approval.