Get A Parking Ticket, Lose Your Houseby Doug Mataconis
The City of Brooksville, Florida is apparently seriously considering a law that would allow the city to seize someone’s house if they owe as little as $ 5.00 in parking tickets:
According to the proposed ordinance, a vehicle owner must pay a parking fine within 72 hours if a meter maid claims his automobile was improperly parked, incurring tickets worth between $5 and $250. Failure to pay this amount results in the assessment of a fifty-percent “late fee.” After seven days, the city will place a lien on the car owner’s home for the amount of the ticket plus late fees, attorney fees and an extra $15 fine. The fees quickly turn a $5 ticket into a debt worth several hundred dollars, growing at a one-percent per month interest rate. The ordinance does not require the city to provide notice to the homeowner at any point so that after ninety days elapse, the city will foreclose. If the motorist does not own a home, it will seize his vehicle after the failure to pay three parking tickets.
And to make this whole thing even more Kafka-esque, here’s what you have to do if you want to appeal a parking ticket:
Any motorist who believes a parking ticket may have been improperly issued must first pay a $250 “appeal fee” within seven days to have the case heard by a contract employee of the city. This employee will determine whether the city should keep the appeal fee, plus the cost of the ticket and late fees, or find the motorist not guilty.
I don’t think we need to wonder what the outcome of the appeal would be.
H/T: Radley Balko