COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The city of Coeur d'Alene appears to be making progress in its efforts to crack down its backlog of unpaid parking tickets.
Two years ago, the city passed a "scofflaw" ordinance aimed at adding teeth behind city laws relating to parking violations along with refining the city's collections process. At the time, the city had 30,000 unpaid tickets on file, amounting to $350,000 in uncollected fines.
Just over two years later, the amount of unpaid parking tickets in Coeur d'Alene has been reduced to 12,403 according to data provided by the city. That amounts to $262,630 in outstanding fines.
Still, the city has collected a noticeable amount of revenue since it started doing collections. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, before the scofflaw ordinance was passed and the city ramped up collection efforts, a mere $36,912 was collected from parking tickets. The next fiscal year, that number more than tripled to $141,957. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the city collected more than $102,000.
Over the last few years, parking around downtown Coeur d'Alene has witnessed some notable changes, including a new downtown parking garage and increased rates at some city-owned lots. Recently, city council voted to take away free two-hour parking at the popular McEuen park parking lot. Part of the reason for that, city officials said, was that drivers who were unfamiliar with the free two hour parking system were continuously receiving parking tickets.
The city's scofflaw ordinance also created processes for the city to place immobilization devices, such as a parking boot, on vehicles belonging to repeat offenders. However, the city to date hasn't implemented the ordinance and has no record of having to place a boot on a car according to city clerk Renata McLeod.