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Repeat traffic offenders in Hancock may get 'the boot'

August 20, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Repeat traffic violators in Hancock who don't pay their tickets might soon be paying with something else: Their cars.

The Hancock Town Council is considering an ordinance that would allow authorities to put "the boot" on and impound vehicles belonging to owners who have three or more unpaid citations or parking tickets.

The boot is a device that locks around the wheels of vehicles and prevents them from being moved, Councilman Greg Yost said.

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If the tickets, towing and storage penalties aren't paid within 30 days, the town would have the authority to sell the vehicle at a public auction, according to the proposed ordinance.

Yost said most people who receive tickets pay the bill, but there are a few who let the citations pile up and go unpaid.

He said some people have unpaid fines of several hundred dollars or more.

"We currently have no way of doing anything about it, other than sending them to a collection agency, and people don't even pay those," Yost said.

He said fear of the boot should get people to pay up.

"That way we have their car until they pay their parking tickets," he said.

Yost, who also sits on the town's Police Commission, said aside from the few who don't pay their tickets, parking violations aren't a big problem in the town.

"Most people pay them and pay them responsibly and on time," Yost said.

He said the town got the idea for using the boot from the Williamsport Town Council, which recently passed a similar ordinance.

Williamsport Mayor John W. Slayman said that ordinance went into effect on July 1.

He said the town hasn't enforced the ordinance yet but that it's getting ready to do so.

"We're getting ready for the first couple of people that need to be booted," Slayman said.

He said if people try to move their vehicles when booted, it will damage the bumpers. The town's meter attendant enforces parking violations and has the authority to put the boot on cars, Slayman said.

He said the ordinance was necessary to crack down on parking violators. Sometimes the attendant issues 45 to 50 tickets on sweeping days, Slayman said.

Yost said the Hancock Town Council is in the process of reviewing the ordinance and it probably will be discussed at the next town meeting on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.

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