Although it may seem that a parking enforcement officer is never too far away in Berkeley, the city isn't handing out as many citations as it used to — and losing money because of it.
The number of parking tickets issued in Berkeley has been declining over the past few years, according to city officials, resulting in revenue loss totaling more than $900,000 between 2009 and 2011, despite an increase in parking fines.
Last year, an average of 25 parking tickets were issued every hour in Berkeley. However, parking enforcement officers dealt almost 70,000 fewer parking tickets than in 2009.
2009 2010 2011 Number of Parking Citations 285,865 234,288 216,413 Total Net Collections $10,029,602 $9,021,035 $9,098,431
The reason for the decline, according to city officials, may be a lack of consistency in the police department's parking enforcement division.
Currently, BPD rotates police lieutenants through the Traffic and Parking Bureau to manage the division, which officials claim has led to "inconsistent mentoring and coaching of parking enforcement staff, a lack of program/project management expertise, and the "lack of a dedicated resource that can assess and monitor the unit’s work."
To rectify the problem, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan requested that the city establish a "Parking Enforcement Manager" position, with the goal of "strengthening" the parking enforcement unit. The new position was approved by the city council in Tuesday night's meeting and becomes effective Jan. 23. The application period and procedure is not yet clear.
According to the job description for the new position, the parking enforcement manager will "implement strategies for efficient staff deployment, and evaluate and recommend methods to increase revenue." The manager will also be responsible for:
- Managing and administering programs
- Researching and evaluating various parking models and trends
- Gathering data, conducting analysis and generating reports
- Identifying and applying for grants
- Maintaining projects
- Evaluating and planning the implementation of new technology and programs, such as the automated plate reader and
- Acting as a liaison between the department and the public to address parking concerns
The parking enforcement manager will be a civilian position within the Berkeley Police Department with a salary between $5,503 and $6,755 per month.
The city is projecting parking fine revenues to total $9.8 million in 2012, an increase of 7.8 percent over last year. In 2009, revenue from parking fines topped $10 million.
What do you think of the new parking enforcement manager position and the decline in parking citations over the last few years? Share your thoughts in the comments.