In Clearfield Borough . . . Police Allowed to Boot Vehicles

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Borough Council approved allowing its police department to boot vehicles of repeat offenders for 72-hours, as well as to have vehicles towed.

Police Chief Vincent McGinnis said there is currently $10,983 worth of unpaid fines for parking-related offenses. He said several individuals owe more than $1,095 individually and some even more than $6,000.

“There aren’t any teeth in it. There isn’t anything you can do once you give them the warrant,” said McGinnis when asked why the fines haven’t been collected. He said if they started sending the offenders to jail, it would cost the borough $65 per day.

Council member Fred Wisor objected passing the ordinance over worries the borough could be held liable if a booted vehicle was damaged. He said the borough would be preventing the owner from moving the vehicle and keeping it undamaged.

“[The drivers] are responsible for the damage. They parked [the vehicle] there, and caused the booting to happen,” said Solicitor F. Cortez “Chip” Bell.

According to the ordinance, the police chief can approve a vehicle’s booting. At that point, the owner can immediately appeal to the mayor to have it removed. If the appeal fails, the owner will have 72 hours to pay the fines, or to have the vehicle towed.

Council member Tim Winters asked about parking ticket prices. He said that nearby municipalities started at $5 per ticket.

“For $1, people are just going to be lazy. There isn’t any disinterest there,” he said.

After questions from council members about the borough’s parking ticket system, McGinnis said the first ticket is $1. He said the meter employee then gives up to three more tickets that day if the vehicle remains in offense. McGinnis said the additional tickets are $3 each, which makes the current maximum $10.

Wisor opposed raising ticket prices. He said that the borough had tried it before. He said someone could come to the borough to shop but be ticketed for getting caught up in a store. He said this would just encourage them to shop at the mall in the future, especially after a $5 ticket as compared to a $1 ticket.

Bell stated the borough had adjusted its ticket prices in 2003 and 2008.

Winters asked about the cost of tickets and meter upkeep. Wisor said that the borough’s meters were not installed to make money for the borough but to help remedy the parking situation.

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