If you had to guess how many tickets were issued in the City of Boston in 2011, what would you think?
The answer? 1,324,610.
If you had to guess how many will be issued in 2013, what would you think?
Well, the city has a “target” number of tickets, and that number is 1,450,000! (City Budget 2013)
So, how is that supported?
There are 197 “parking meter supervisors” for a line item budget of $8,497,003 – that is $43,131 per worker, per year, to write tickets. At an average of $25 per ticket, that is 1725 tickets per year for each meter supervisor to “break even” on their salary (by levying additional taxes on citizens through fines).
But, like any good business, the City would like to write more than 1725 tickets per meter supervisor. In fact, in 2013 they project a total of 1,450,000 tickets. Taken across 197 supervisors that is 7360 tickets per worker, per year!
To take this further, fines in general are included, and thus depended on, as $65,140,000 in revenue for 2013! Have you ever thought that they might operate under a quota? How else could you interpret these facts?
Where does it end?
I would offer a simple solution – private property rights. The city could auction parking spaces to businesses and residents.
Ownership of parking by a private entity will ensure their efficient usage. Newbury street parking? Solved. Residential parking? Solved. Arbitrary parking enforcement by government employees? Solved.
Additionally, the current “need” to pay parking meter supervisors, clerks, admins (the Assistant Parking Clerk makes $107,091 per year!), and executive assistants (at $111,140 and $100,901), to name a few, would go away.
Under the current system, even non-drivers incur the tax burden to support the beaurocratic structure of the parking department. Instead of spending money on what they would like to, they are coerced into supporting a blizzard of orange "VIOLATION" envelopes.
While the private property solution is based on sound principles, admittedly, it is a different way of approaching this problem. However, it takes bold leadership to let the people govern themselves, and I doubt the City Council would let go of a $65 million budget item.