Opinion: Commissioner Marlon Bolton
This past Wednesday, my colleagues and I contemplated putting tougher restrictions on parking on City Streets. Let me shed some light on how this piece of legislation work. This ordinance seeks to restrict resident parking on City Streets from 11 pm to 6 am; a change from the current 2 am to 6 am schedule.
It is important to note that the legislation does not provide for enforcement on private streets. So, because Tamarac BSO would theoretically enforce parking on only City streets, cars could now park in other neighborhoods or on an adjacent private street causing even more issues and harm to our elderly population.
BSO is currently NOT enforcing parking from 2 am to 6 am; not because they don’t want to, but because it is arduous. According to Tamarac BSO Captain, Jeff Cirminielo, they currently enforce parking selectively and reactively. The Residents who pay $22 per ticket could theoretically pay upwards of $600 per month on fines if their behavior persists nightly. The proposed ordinance does not clearly state how much the fines will be going forward, whether it would be $22 or $150 per violation. The consequences of which would be harsh.
Residents who cannot afford to pay the ticket would theoretically lose their ability to renew their registrations, which could lead to driving without registration; they could be criminally charged. So I could not provide a blanket approval for the ordinance on the first reading.
While the ordinance fixes the issue in some areas of the city, it creates more issues in some. Tamarac is changing and the cost of living is skyrocketing everywhere causing young people to come home to live with parents and, some neighbors now have to rent a room to survive. Where will your resident’s park? Will they be given the ability to park on HOA property for a nominal fee?
The city could provide funding to residents from federal funds to extend their drive-ways. Why arent these options being explored?
Under the new ordinance, the City will have to fund new a position(s) to enforce parking and possibly increase the police budget so that the police can equitably enforce parking, which means a bigger tax bill could be in residents’ mailboxes next year. Is that fair to all Tamarac residents especially those who live in private communities where BSO would not ticket their residents but they would have to pay a bigger tax bill, nevertheless?
My colleagues who voted for this know that BSO will have an issue enforcing the ordinance, which would now be more strict and, they know that many streets in private communities where they live would not be a target.
This is a bad ordinance that scores points with a few residents, who will inevitably cry over a bigger tax bill as a result. Again, this is a bad ordinance that will inflate Tamarac taxes and, it could distract Tamarac BSO officers who would be more focused on writing tickets rather than fighting crime. It will not provide a solution to the issue. Rather, it will make the issue worse.
If neighbors are disturbing the peace with loud noises should Tamarac BSO come out and ticket cars, absolutely!
If someone is blocking your driveway, should Tamarac BSO come out and ticket the car, absolutely!
Should Tamarac BSO come out and ticket cars blocking emergency vehicles? absolutely!
Beyond this, the Ordinance is terrible!
This ordinance could also parlay into a private vendor coming in to write tickets (similar to RED LIGHT CAMERAS) which provides more campaign donations to elected officials. Things are not always what they seem. If these issues are addressed in the Ordinance on second reading and I can be assured taxes will not increase, then I will consider supporting it. But for now, my vote remains with the Tamarac Working families and Seniors who cannot afford inflation, my vote remains a NO.