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Friday, September 23, 2011

Expired Registrations To Be Fined By Traffic & Parking Department

On Monday September 26th, cars with expired registrations will be subject to a $50 fine after a 72 hour grace period when parked on Somerville streets.

As a revenue-increasing measure to assist in balancing the FY2012 budget, the Traffic and Parking Department proposed a policy that would allow parking control officers to issue tickets to cars that have expired registrations. This has been done by surrounding cities and is predicted to earn the city over $900,000 in revenue. The remainder of the budget was balanced through three lay-offs, an increase in other city fees, and a transfer from the “rainy day” fund. During budget deliberations, the Board of Alderman also cut tens of thousands of dollars due to unfilled positions not needing the full salary amount allotted.

Originally presented as a same day, you pay violation, the Board of Alderman negotiated a 72 hour grace period with the T&P Department and the administration to give residents an opportunity to get registered without paying the fine through legislative item #191654. This condition was approved by the Board of Alderman at their June 13th meeting and was later unanimously voted in by the Traffic Commission at their July 21st meeting.

Although frustrated with fees and fines increases, most residents seem to appreciate this ruling as it will mean consequences for unregistered cars taking up spaces on city streets. The $50 fine for not paying a $50 DMV fee is much more reasonable than, lets say, paying 25 cents for 15 minutes at a parking meter.

Currently, the Somerville Police Department can issue a citation to drivers who are caught with an expired registration and be fined for a “moving violation.” The revenue from these citations, however, is shared with the state and Somerville only receives between $20K and $30K annually. By having a parking control officer issue a violation, Somerville is entitled to 100% of the revenue received.

The Traffic and Parking Department has promised to work with the city’s communication department to broadcast the policy change to residents via the reverse 311 calling feature.

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