City Goes After Ticket Scofflaws With Published Lists
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ The meter is ticking for parking scofflaws in this cash-poor city, and officials pledged Friday that the one-night jail stay of a woman arrested for owing more than $4,500 is just the beginning.
The woman topped two lists of alleged violators released by the city and published in the newspaper over the past two months.
The approach isn’t winning rave reviews from some of the targets.
″It’s almost like the 10 most wanted people in the world,″ said Betty Lichenstein, a Holyoke School Committee member on the list for 52 delinquent tickets for a total of $1,040.
Lichtenstein said she tried to work out a payment plan with officials after appearing on the list about a month ago, but was told only full payment would spare her the embarrassment of a second appearance.
″It’s causing a lot of grief in my life,″ she said. ″Cocaine and crack dealers, they don’t always get their names in the papers.″
City officials are delighted with the program. An estimated $200,000 has been collected in unpaid fines since the start of the fiscal year.
The fine for downtown parking meter violations is $10, while parking in prohibited zones is $15.
″The word is on the street that we mean business, that’s the crux of the whole matter,″ parking clerk Kevin Kelliher said Thursday. ″We’re going to go after the money and come hell or high water we’re going to get them.″
The city laid off more than 850 workers after voters turned down a measure that would have allowed a property tax increase.
The published list of 139 ranged from $627 owed on 10 tickets to the $4,585 on 227 tickets owed by 30-year-old Noreen D. Perrault, who spent Wednesday night in jail after she was arrested on a civil complaint.
Perrault, of West Springfield, was released on her own recognizance after pleading innocent Thursday. Her lawyer, Mark Kolber, said there would be no comment.
Conviction of a ticket violation carries no jail sentence, city solicitor John Payne said. ″We’ll be looking for payment of the fine, if she’s found in violation,″ he said.
Some parkers have complained at City Council meetings that spaces are scarce downtown and the alternatives are pricey garages.
Tim Sheehan, aide to Mayor Mary Hurley, said the city can’t afford to overlook the revenue, and people have plenty of time to avoid getting on the published lists.
″We’ve issued warning after warning after warning and I don’t know of too many people in the city of Springfield who do not know that this list is being published,″ he said.