Sycamore adds fine increases and parking boots to help enforce regulations


More expensive parking fines and the introduction of parking boots has garnered mixed reactions from the Sycamore community.

About five months ago, the Sycamore City Council passed an ordinance to increase parking fines from 25 cents to $1. During the same session, an ordinance was passed, allowing the city to use parking boots to enforce unpaid tickets.

For a car to get a boot, the owner would have to rack up $250 in unpaid fines. If a ticket is ignored for over 60 days, the fine increases from $1 to $50, and after five tickets are unpaid the boot is applied, said Sycamore Accounting Supervisor Adam Orton.

“We’ve only gotten to use [the boot] twice,” Orton said. “People did come in and pay.”

The city imposes these fines at the parking meters located in front of stores in the downtown area.

The meters cost 1 cent for 12 minutes, or 5 cents for an hour, with a maximum of two hours.

“The whole spirit and intent is to keep the traffic moving,” said Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy. “That’s the whole point of parking meters.”

While traffic may be moving, not everyone is convinced the fine increase has had any effect.

The meters still cost the same amount, and nothing’s changed, said Marcia Elliot, owner of shop Made Just For You.

“The overall goal of raising the fines was to increase the downtown area’s parking turnover,” Orton said. “We basically feel like that’s happening.”

This problem has also been noticed by local shop keepers.

“People who live above the stores would park there,” said Jim Niewold, owner of The Clock Shoppe, “Some of them still do anyway.”

If local residents are still parking in the store front spots it would mean they have to visit the meter every two hours, and are using spots that have been designated for shopping in downtown.

“No one comes downtown to shop anyway, unless they want something special,” Niewold said.