Out-of-state parking scofflaws be aware: Superior’s making changes to its code of ordinances to collect unpaid fines.
The Public Safety Committee directed the city’s traffic lieutenant to develop an ordinance that would allow police to impound a vehicle when it attains four or more tickets in a short period of time.
“If we write parking tickets to a vehicle registered in Wisconsin, we have a means of forcing them to pay their parking tickets because at a certain point, they’re eligible to have their registration suspended on the vehicle,” Traffic Lt. Thor Trone said. “It’s effective for getting people to pay their parking tickets.”
However, he said living on the border with Minnesota, he said there are people who move here and don’t change their registration, or attending school here that are getting parking tickets and scoffing at the law because Superior doesn’t have the same leverage with people living out-of-state.
He ran a report for a one-year timeframe and Trone said he discovered about $26,000 in unpaid parking fines with most having Minnesota registrations.
Trone said other cities have scofflaws that allow them to impound vehicles when they have unpaid parking tickets. Places with warmer climates use devices to make the car undrivable, he said.
“The city of Milwaukee has it for three parking tickets in 65 days, the car would be eligible to be towed and impounded,” Trone said. He said Superior could develop something similar but he would suggest four tickets in that period of time.
The scofflaw would provide the police department with another tool to address habitual offenders of Superior’s parking laws, Trone said.
“If you’re from out of state, you can rack up hundreds of dollars in parking tickets and I really can’t do anything about it,” Trone said.
“If I had parking tickets, my registration could be suspended, but someone with Minnesota plates gets these tickets that don’t really have any weight to them … because they’re from out of state,” Councilor Craig Sutherland said. “I get it. Something needs to happen.”
“I did not know this was happening,” Councilor Tylor Elm said.
Sutherland questioned how the police department would handle situations where people already have multiple, unpaid tickets if the ordinance is adopted.
Trone said the police department could notify those individuals about the change in the law.
Sutherland said he would like to see an ordinance for consideration when the committee meets May 19.