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Smithsburg council OKs boot ordinance

August 04, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Chronic parking offenders in the Town of Smithsburg might soon get the boot.

The Smithsburg Town Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve an emergency ordinance that will allow the Smithsburg Police Department to place an immobilizing boot on vehicles owned by motorists with three unpaid parking tickets.

Department Police Chief Michael Potter said similar ordinances have worked well as a deterrent in other towns such as Williamsport and Hancock.

"Right now, we're being laughed at," Potter said. "It's just a way we can capture the flagrant violators. Some of these people are up to about $800 right now, and they still park in violation."

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Potter said the department will purchase one boot, at a cost of $200 to $400, that is expected to "pay for itself" through the fines collected.

Potter said he believes that, because only flagrant violators will be affected by the ordinance, it will be used sparingly.

According to a memo forwarded by Potter to the council on July 20, vehicles will be "booted" if their owners have three citations that have not been paid within a 30-day period.

The memo also states that owners of booted vehicles will have at least 24 hours to pay fines before the vehicles are impounded by the town.

According to the ordinance, the fee for people who claim vehicles before 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday will be $25. The fee for those who claim vehicles after 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on weekends or holidays will be $60.

If the owner does not reclaim a vehicle within 30 days, authorities will consider that to be a "waiver of all rights, title and interest in the vehicle, and be considered consent to the sale of the vehicle at public auction," according to the memo.

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