City to collect overdue parking tickets

By Lindsey Salvatelli

DeKALB — The DeKalb City Council unanimously voted on Monday to authorize the DeKalb Police Department to enact a temporary parking amnesty program to collect $399,444 in unpaid tickets.

The amnesty program will run Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. To notify outstanding ticket holders about the program the police department intends to engage in a media campaign promoting the event and send letters.

The program is an attempt to collect on about 5,000 outstanding parking tickets that were accumulated between 2013 to 2016. The program allows those who have received a $25 ticket, which was then increased after the tenth day to $75 due to late payment, to pay a reduced amount of $50, said Craig Woodruff, DeKalb Police Department Commander. Individuals who have 10 or more parking tickets, snow emergency route tickets or handicap parking tickets are not eligible.

Information of those who fail to pay their outstanding parking tickets during the amnesty period will the be sent to the Illinois Comptroller’s office. Fines will be subsequently collected at the full $75 through the office’s I-Drop program, which collects the violators unpaid ticket through their state income tax return. This will be the first time the police department has used the I-Drop program.

Mayor Jerry Smith said he was taken aback when he saw the city had amassed about 5,000 outstanding tickets that added up to $399,444.

“If the amnesty, if everybody were to take advantage of that $25 dollars [difference], we’re going to realize $284,815,” Smith said. “So this might cost us $100,015, but if we can get a good chunk of that [$285,815] back, more power to us.”

Woodruff said there is no way to know if the comptroller will be able to collect all of the money owed but is certain the police department will continue to work with the office to continue to collect money owed on outstanding tickets.

“So every year we’ll recoup the money around tax time, March, April — who knows when it’ll come in,” Woodruff said. “But that is our intent.”

Data related to parking tickets before 2013 has yet to be compiled and arranged, but once officials are able to “make sense” of the data, the police department does intend to collect tickets from 2012 to 2007, as well, Woodruff said.

Third Street and Oak Street

An amendment to an ordinance that pertains to traffic and parking at the intersection of Third Street and Oak Street was passed.

Patrick DiDiana, DeKalb’s management analyst, spoke to city council about the need to remove two parking spaces on the northern side of Oak street, in front of the library, reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on Fourth Street, add a stop sign on north Oak Street and extend a loading zone on Oak Street.

DiDiana said the increase of pedestrian traffic to the new DeKalb Public Library caused safety concerns, and removing the two parking spaces is an attempt to allow more visibility.

“As traffic is proceeding west on Oak, people open the doors; it kind of cuts off that space, so if we remove those spots, it’ll increase space and there will be a lot more visibility,” DiDiana said.