CHICAGO (CBS) — “The city does not look at ticket revenue as a source of revenue,” Evanston assistant city manager Erika Storlie said, in response to recent complaints about raising parking ticket fines.
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker dove into Evanston’s 253-page budget to discover what’s going on with smaller street cleaning signs, higher fines and the city’s finances.
In 2016, Evanston changed its street cleaning signs. Allen Feuersteinsaid he thinks there are now too few of them on some streets, and the letters are too small for drivers to read.
He didn’t say anything until recently, when Evanston increased the fine for street cleaning parking infractions from $40 to $75.
“So it’s really significant,” he said.
“It’s an increase, but it’s less of a hardship, and it is far less of the total cost that a person previously would have endured,” Storlie said.
Before the parking fine was increased, violators not only had to pay the $40 fine, but a $200 fee which went directly to the towing companies.
When Evanston raised the parking fine, it nixed the towing charges.
“So it benefits the resident that they’re not having to go and pick up their car, pay the hundreds of dollars. They have a lesser out-of-pocket expense,” she said.
The new higher fine also benefits the city. Last May, when the city issued 3,056 tickets for street cleaning parking violations, it collected $122,240.
This May, with the higher fines, Evanston issued 3,659 such tickets, raking in $274,425.
“The city does not look at ticket revenue as a source of revenue. If you’ve ever looked at our city budget, tickets represent less than 3% of our overall budget,” Storlie said.
However, the Evanston budget indicates the city added two parking enforcement officers in March, bringing in an increased ticket revenue of $300,000 for the year.
Feuerstein said he doesn’t expect the city to reduce parking fines, but he does want officials to change the signs to save people from getting the costly tickets.
“I think that they should make a little more of an effort to make sure that the signage is clear for people; especially not only for people who live here, but people who come and visit have no clue,” he said.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz stated in an email that the current street cleaning signs have been posted since 2016, and “have been in place without much comment since.”
“I don’t anticipate that the signs will be changed,” he wrote in an email to Feuerstein.
Evanston does offer a service where drivers can sign up for email and text alerts to remind them of street cleaning schedules.
Bobkiewicz stated the city council might discuss additional parking signs at their next meeting on July 8, when they will discuss citywide parking issues.