Anecdotally, the number of parking tickets visible on windshields in downtown Bloomington over the last couple of months has increased.
It’s not just a gut feel.
Based on data provided by the Bloomington city clerk’s office, in January of this year 4,550 parking citations were issued by parking enforcement officers. In February they issued 5,537 citations.
The combined total of 10,087 tickets for the first two months of 2023 is the highest number of citations in any year for the last 13 years.
The next highest two-month total was 20 percent less—8,051 in 2012.
Parking services director Michelle Wahl responded to an emailed question from The B Square with an explanation. The seven parking enforcement positions in the city’s budget are now filled.
Wahl wrote: “The Parking Services Division was short four full-time Parking Enforcement Officers (PEO)… [A]ll the new PEO’s started on December 27, 2022.”
Wahl wrote: “So yes, you will see more parking citations everywhere.”
The additional citations also means more work for city clerk Nicole Bolden’s office. In January and February the clerk’s office has handled 1,534 appeals.
So far this year about 15 percent of tickets have been appealed. In January, about 75 percent of appeals were granted.
The percentage of parking tickets that have been appealed has increased since the start of 2019. In the half decade before 2019, about 9 percent of tickets were appealed. For the calendar year 2019, the percentage of appealed tickets jumped to 14.75 percent.
The increase in the appeal rate can be analyzed as an effect of the increase in the fine schedule, which was effective starting Jan. 1, 2019.
In Bloomington an expired meter fine is currently $30. If it’s not paid within 14 days, the fine doubles to $60.
That fine schedule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, when Bloomington’s city council authorized an increase from the lower structure of $20, which doubled to $40, if not paid within 14 days.