To combat this epidemic, Perkins police commanders plan to find and penalize parking violators in handicap zones, fire lanes and other restricted areas.
“Even though we have an abundance of regulated parking throughout the township, whether it be on a public street or private property, we still often field complaints about it,” Perkins police Chief Ken Klamar said.
Klamar’s solution involves creating a parking unit. He recently proposed the idea to township trustees at a public meeting.
“By creating this unit, it would better enforce our rules,” Klamar said. “Our shifts are short as it is. Sometimes by the time an officer arrives to a parking complaint, the cars are gone.”
Among the plan’s tentative framework:
•The task force would enforce parking rules and seek out violators on all residential streets and in township business lots.
• Commanders would mostly recruit volunteers and part-time officers to comprise the task force.
Klamar opted against assigning any of his 18 fulltime officers to primarily writing tickets as they’re already short-staffed.
Case in point: Budgeting issues forced Klamar to lay off two full-time officers, dropping from 20 in January to 18 today. “More bodies can help us enforce parking regulations,” Klamar said.
People can still dispute a ticket at township meetings, the Perkins Police Department or Sandusky Municipal Court.
“Oftentimes, we see people who forget to put up their handicap placard,” said Klamar, adding he or another official would void the ticket if people can prove they’re physically disabled.
Additionally, parking funds could generate enough money to specifically create at least one job within the task force. “If the program is successful enough, it could pay for the salary of a parking enforcer with no benefits,” said Klamar, adding the person could work up to 28 hours a week at $10 per hour with no benefits.
Township trustees appeared pleased with the proposal and want to hear more about it. “Almost anytime you’re in a parking lot of a store, it seems like someone is parked where they shouldn’t be, whether it’s a handicap space or in a fire lane,” trustee Tim Coleman said.
The task force could be created as soon as later this month, with members ticketing illegal parkers in early 2014.
Sandusky Municipal Court records mandate violators pay $250 for parking in a handicap zone in a commercial area and $50 for parking in a fire lane. The fines increase to $300 and $75, respectively, for staying there for prolonged periods of time.