If you are adding a street sweeping program from a company like USA Services of Florida to your community or if you are looking for ways to improve your existing street sweeping program, you have to decide whether or not you want to assess fines. Some communities assess fines to the vehicles that are parked in the way of the street sweeping trucks. while others do not. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
While making your decision, here are some of the points you should consider:
1. Fines can help to boost your revenue
In most cases, parking fines, whether they are for parking violations related to street sweeping or for almost anything else, generate money for a community. Those funds can go into your community's general coffers, or they can be used for something directly related to improving your streets.
For example, you can consider funneling street sweeping fines into special accounts designed for parking management services, more bike lanes and larger sidewalks. When you use the fines for a dedicated purpose that relates to keeping the streets clean and the neighborhoods organized, it can help to make the fines more palatable to the people in your community.
2. Street sweeping fines can actually work
Fines, however, by their very nature, are not meant to be palatable. They are meant to be expensive and distasteful, and as a result, they are meant to discourage certain behaviors.
If everyone in your community knows they will face a hefty fine if they fail to move their cars off the streets on street sweeping day, they will be more likely to make the effort to move their cars. As a result, street sweeping becomes a faster and more effective process.
3. Fines can be regressive and hurt the poor
In spite of their potential effectiveness, overly high fines can be regressive. That means they disproportionately hurt the poor.
You can avoid that scenario by opting not to use fines or by charging fines that are relatively fair. For example, you can create fines equal to the median hourly salary in your area, or you can consider prorating fines based on someone's income.
4. Technology can help organize parking fines
If you decide to charge fines for street sweeping, you have to be careful about how you distribute those tickets. For example, if your parking officers are distributing tickets on streets where the street sweeping trucks have already passed, your community members may feel frustrated and upset.
Luckily, you can streamline and organize the process using technology. You can outfit your street sweeping trucks with GPS technology, and using that, you can track the trucks in real time. As a result, you can tighten up your parking schedule, and residents will only have to avoid parking on their streets for a small window of time rather than all day long.
Additionally, you can relay data from the street sweeping trucks to your parking officers so they know which streets to focus on.
5. Fines can help to eliminate towing mistakes
Instead of charging fines, many communities simply tow away cars that are parked in areas where street sweeping is scheduled. Towing and storage fees can be a lot more expensive than fines for residents, and those expenses bring up issues discussed above related to community resentment and regressive fine schedules.
Additionally, when you pay a towing company to move cars that are in the way, that company may occasionally tow cars that are not truly illegally parked. As a result, if those people are able to successfully prove that they were incorrectly towed, the community itself has to foot the towing bill. In contrast, if a driver is mistakenly ticketed, the community can just erase the ticket, without incurring any additional costs.