CO lawmakers granted immunity from parking, speeding tickets while happily gouging the little people with them
posted at 9:41 pm on August 6, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
State lawmakers are getting special perks because of their legislative license plates.
The plates issued to the 100 state lawmakers and representatives elected to serve Colorado are preventing them not only from receiving photo radar tickets but also collection notices from past due parking tickets.
The legislative plates are not entered into the Colorado DMV database, so when photo radar cameras catch these drivers speeding, they never received tickets. That’s because of a loophole that doesn’t allow the City of Denver to electronically cross-reference those plates with a home address.
The same “loophole” affects parking tickets and the DMV says it’s a glitch. Just how expensive a glitch?
Williams says a result of the CBS4 Investigation, Denver has identified 16 legislative plates that have racked up a total of $2,100 in fines and penalties that were never paid.
The city government at first promised to track down those lawmakers and make them pay up, but has since decided “that would be too costly and perhaps too difficult to figure out.” I’m sure they’ll take that excuse when you show up in court with $2,100 in unpaid tickets. No worries, citizen.
Or, maybe not. A 2012 report, also from the local CBS affiliate finds the state has gotten better and better at gouging citizens for “improper use of a meter,” sometimes while they’re at a government building waiting to pay their parking tickets, and other such tiny infractions while they give the big guys a pass:
A look at parking ticket records shows that in the last five years, the number of improper use of a meter tickets went up 8-percent. CBS4 asked the Denver Department of Public Works for parking ticket information from 2001, 2006, and 2011. In 2001, Denver collected $13,238,475.04 in parking violations. In 2006, parking ticket revenue went up to $15,759,039.47. In 2011, the city collected $27,728,015.30 in parking tickets, that’s a 76-percent increase in 5 years.
“The most significant part of that is that the fines for many different violations went up,” said Ann Williams, spokesperson for the Denver Department of Public Works.
The city did raise fines on many of its parking violations.
–Street Sweeping: $25 – $50
–Handicapped Parking: $100 – $150
–Meter Violations: $20 – $25
“Just with the five dollar increase on that fine, that equates to a little over a million dollars,” Williams explained.
Williams said that the city got better at collecting past due fines which added to the bottom line. The records show that enforcement agents gave out more tickets. In 2006, Denver gave out 580,342 tickets, that went up to 645,064 in 2011 – an increase of 11-percent.
So, they’ve upped their productivity, they’ve upped the prices of tickets, and they’ve upped their enforcement of past-due fines. Just not for the people in power who encourage them to increase productivity, prices of tickets, and enforcement of past-due fines. Nice gig if you can get it.
Just try getting another branch of city government to give you quicker, more aggressively proactive service than parking enforcement sometime. Ain’t gonna happen. These are the priorities of public servants. They serve each other and gouge you. Enjoy, cash cows.