Parking fine revenues are still down for Oak Park

Village may hire more parking enforcement officers

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The Village of Oak Park is in the process of hiring up to five additional parking enforcement officers, a plan that may help address the "concerning trend" seen in the declining revenue for fines related to parking.

Oak Park currently has nine officers to enforce the 24-hour-seven-day-a-week operation and having 14 would help increase monitoring efforts.

The parking enforcement officers are run through the police department but until the applicants are initially screened and interviewed, the process is managed by the human resources department.

Frank Spataro, human resources director, said there are currently five vacancies but it's uncertain if all five will be filled. How many are hired depends on the qualifications of the applicants once the interview process starts, he said.

Jill Velan, parking service manager, explained the process takes some time and she expects there to be many applicants. She hopes there are enough qualified applicants to fill the shortage.

Candidates must pass physical and psychological tests similar to those given to prospective police officers. The current salary range is $33,300 - $45,900, with most enforcement staff earning below $35,000.

The issue of parking fine revenue has been a topic of discussion at the village board's finance committee throughout the year since the first and second quarter financial projections showed fines have been consistently below estimates.

Staff has been discussing ways to address the matter and the second quarter numbers show a 10 percent improvement. The first quarter report showed fines were down 46 percent from last year, but the July report showed that number is now at 36 percent.

The drivers of fines include the number of tickets issued, village parking policy, number of parking enforcement officers, degree of enforcement, fines waived and collection rates. When revenues dip below the amount budgeted it impacts the village's general fund. Village management has made the general fund a top priority this budgeting season as new village policy calls for Oak Park to have a 10 percent fund balance or reserve.

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Posted: February 22nd, 2013 12:25 PM

The most unfair part of OP parking regs is that if you own a house, on many blocks, you are given special privileges to park on your block or to prevent others from parking there. If you own a condo, paying the same taxes, you get nothing. The village gives away public assets to private citizens with this policy. On the block of Euclid north of Lake, house owners basically have been deeded many of the street parking places. Permit blocks around high school are the same type of misappropiation.

OP Transplant  

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 10:53 AM

Typical for the village. Decide how much they're going to spend, then figure out how to get it. Property taxes? Parking? My household can't run like that, and my business can't run like that.

Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 10:12 AM

We have been dealing with "selective enforcement" for years in our lot, lot 13 (across from library). We have watched as they ticket some but not others. Usually local business people slide. Sundays are a mess. Supposed to be permit only, but the sign is unclear so everyone gets a free pass. While I can't park in there because its full most of the day. The village and police have done nothing to fix this in 7+ years!


Posted: August 29th, 2012 9:40 PM

Democracy: two wolf and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. This article about sums up the parasitic nature of those working for the Village. We want to spend more money. Let's hire more cops to shake down the citizens. What an embarassment.

Leslie from former OP employee  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 7:50 PM

Has everyone forgotten the missing pkg monies from those who pocketed fines or took monies to void tickets. Most of those are still there in Village Hall - in the department responsible for all of that.

Bill Sullivan  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 4:27 PM

This is ridiculous. Really? A parking ticket quota? Come on already.

Concerned Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 3:06 PM

Why don't we just raise our own property taxes again this year? Oh and we should raise parking permit fees AGAIN! All those people who live in apartments need to shell out more cash to park their cars.

Eilene McCullagh Heckman from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 1:34 PM

I second the Fenwick parking issue. I'm supposed to have a sticker for that parking area, but can rarely park there... or have to park on Madison and remember to move my car. I also see Fenwick students parking in the Jewel lot... and all over Madison street. Between Fenwick and the Chicken and Waffles... parking around Madison and Scoville is a nightmare. Give me a book of tickets. I'll increase your revenue...

OP Resident #123 from North Berwyn  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 12:41 PM

I think your on to something. The newly hired inspectors can find violations on village owned properties... the fines are paid from village funds... revenue increase... BRILLIANT!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 12:03 PM

Hire inspectors to inspect village owned property and streets. The inspectors can fine everyone on the board and village workers that would need to pay for the fines out of their own money.


Posted: August 29th, 2012 11:27 AM

After living across the street from Fenwick for two years, all they need to do to make money is station someone right there from 7 A.M. to 9 P.M. every weekday, Friday nights and all day Saturday during the Winter and Spring. Part of the problem is that enforcement is lax but I'm not sure if this is everywhere or if Fenwick is getting special treatment.

OP Resident #123 from North Berwyn  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 10:06 AM

C'mon... you're thinking too much trying to rationalize why this is a poor decision. Everyone needs to think like NIKE... Just Do It.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 9:50 AM

Let's not forget that the tickets not only have to cover their salary but also benefits which are typically 30% or more of a person's pay. PLUS, they also need to cover the cost of purchasing and running a vehicle, ticket machines, legal time, and lots of other overhead which has an incremental cost but is difficult to quantify. Oh, and also the cost of reduced business revenue and lower home values for Oak Park being known as parking nightmare.

Personal Opinion from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 9:23 AM

"how many tickets does s/he have to write to recoup the salary? Five $20 tickets per day for 350 days.

OP Resident #123 from North Berwyn  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 9:18 AM

While we're at it, let's hire more home inspectors. They can write more citations for peeling paint and unpolished door knobs.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 8:55 AM

How about allowing the security people at the Jewel on Madison to write tickets for people who park in between the "No parking between signs" signs? How about hiring more police officers to stop motorists who don't stop for stop signs? We'd be able to get a tax rebate in this town if that was done.


Posted: August 29th, 2012 8:55 AM

If each meter maid earns $35,000 per year, how many tickets does s/he have to write to recoup their salary, benefits, and other overhead costs such as the vehicle they drive while performing their "duties"??? I think I will do my shopping and dining elsewhere....

4 Freedom  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 8:37 AM

I agree with others. I see how parking permits ect help to protect the residents and their parking, but to rely on fines is irresponsible, imprudent and borderlines on extorsion in my meager opinion.

Christi from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 8:37 AM

How about putting up a camera at the intersection at North Blvd & Harlem on the side by TGI Fridays? I have seen many violations by motorists both turning right on red and making left hand turns onto Harlen under the viaduct.It is clearly marked that you cannot turn on red or make a left at this intersection yet many people do,oddly there is a police station right in the train station I have yet to see a person get stopped there.Having just paid a $100.00 red light camera fine they are effective

Really? from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 7:53 AM

Residents in this Village like me are very aware of parking rules and restrictions and live in fear of expensive tickets. We pay attention to the meters and endless signage. If the parking enforcement officers the Village employs cannot find violators, then they should report back that residents are in compliance. If they can't do that then Village Hall needs to know if they are doing their job. Now is not the time to hire more parking enforcement officers.

OP REsident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 7:53 AM

So a line item on the income side of the budget is an assumption residents will break the law??? How idiotic.Parking fines should never be an assumed amount. VOP should budget assuming ZERO income from parking fines. Any $$ that comes in goes into a reserve fund. Typical stupid govt baseline budgeting, which won't take behavior changes into policy decisions. Fines are now at the point where we actively look to avoid them, so of course they're down. Add $400K in new salaries to grow fines? No!

DK from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2012 7:47 AM

What about hiring some more police officers instead and ticketing unsafe drivers. It is nearly impossible to get a ticket in Oak Park while your car is actually moving.


Posted: August 29th, 2012 5:54 AM

fine revenues are down, so spend more by hiring more meter maids? nice solution spend more taxpayer money to squeeze more money out of tax payers. or, just a suggestion, don't rely on ticket revenue in your budget. it is time for some fresh faces, and brighter minds, at the village board table.

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