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Parking scofflaws could get 'boot'

Under a proposed ordinance, those who have at least three unpaid parking tickets could have the device attached to their car.

Under a proposed ordinance, those who have at least three unpaid parking tickets could have the device attached to their car.

February 19, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown city officials will introduce an ordinance at an upcoming City Council meeting that would give the Hagerstown Police Department the power to put the "boot" on vehicles belonging to owners who don't pay parking tickets.

The City Council authorized the move at Tuesday's meeting.

Under the proposed ordinance, people who have at least three unpaid parking tickets more than 30 days old might be given the boot, which is a device that immobilizes cars.

The boot locks around the wheels of vehicles and prevents them from being moved.

The owner would then have two days to pay the outstanding tickets before the vehicle is towed, Police Chief Arthur Smith has said.

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Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said Tuesday that booting cars of local residents who intend to pay their tickets but forget to do so might be a harsh penalty.

"It scares me - three tickets, 30 days later - you're booted," Metzner said.

"It just seems a little severe to me for our local residents," he said.

However, he said he supports going after those who refuse to pay or those who live outside Maryland.

"I like the way it's written," Councilman Kristen B. Aleshire said. "I just think it's fair."

Smith has suggested that the city charge a $100 booting fee to people who are booted to cover police time and expenses. The amount would be added to the amount of unpaid tickets, which would also have to be paid.

The police department would have the authority to sell at public auctions vehicles that go unclaimed after 30 days.

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