BELFAST, Maine — As Belfast has become more of a destination, downtown parking spots have grown more desirable — and beginning soon, the penalties for disobeying the parking ordinances will become much more severe. Belfast city councilors agreed last week to new ordinances with more teeth behind them.
“It’s a new direction,” Chief Mike McFadden of the Belfast Police Department said recently. “We’re going to take enhanced enforcement actions.”
However, parking ticket scofflaws — who are numerous, he said — can take advantage of a monthlong parking amnesty period beginning June 1.
Some people owe as much as $275 in delinquent tickets, which until now cost $5. Altogether, the city is owed $15,000 in outstanding parking tickets. During the amnesty month, people can pay their tickets with a 30 percent discount. Beginning July 1, the police will “start at the top of the list” and send people a letter stating what will happen if they do not pay up within a week. If the city has not heard a response or received a payment in that time, the gloves come off, the chief said.
“Delinquent vehicles may be subjected to the Denver boot until all fines and fees have been paid,” McFadden said. “Parking enforcement personnel will be actively looking for vehicles that continue to be delinquent.”
And it won’t stop at the boot, a metal clamp that makes it impossible to drive the vehicle. If the owners do not pay their past-due tickets, the vehicle will be impounded at their expense, he said, with storage fees ranging from $25 to $30.
Also beginning July 1, the ticket prices will be hiked. After receiving a first warning ticket, overtime parkers will pay $10 instead of $5. If the tickets are not paid within 30 days, the price will jump to $25, McFadden said.