Parking tickets bring in big bucks

Anthony Hellmueller

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Karen Thurman does nothing but roam the university campus, South Campus and Campbell Lane.

As one of two parking enforcement officers, she’s partly responsible for the 200 to 250 parking tickets written each day at Western.

Most parking offenses land violators a $20 fine, so the Western Police Department makes anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000 every 24 hours from tickets.

In the 2001-2002 fiscal year, the police department earned a total ticket revenue of $317, 924. Records from July 1 to Aug. 31 of this year show a total 3, 880 parking tickets with a revenue of $41, 400. Last year, during the same period, ticket fines only raised $37,677.

The latest total will not be available until the end of the 2002-2003 fiscal year, because many students won’t pay fines until the last minute, Captain Mike Wallace said.

The Parking and Transportation committee meets to discuss policies. It also determines what is done with money made from parking tickets and the sales of parking permits.

“We are currently pursuing the creation of future parking spaces and the possibility of an upgrade in our shuttle system,” said Randy Deere, co-chairman of the committee.

All profits made by tickets and parking permits are placed in a general fund. The fund is used for things like purchasing library books and replacing street lights. It also helps fund transportation on campus, including Western’s shuttle system.

Members of the committee said there is somewhat of an increase in tickets written this year, as compared to those from last year. While an exact number could not be given, the committee said construction and more students without permits have added to the increase.

Louisville freshman Justin Givens received a parking ticket during the first week of classes. He has a student permit, but parked his car in a faculty and staff lot.

“There was nowhere else to park,” he said.

Deere said the addition of two full time enforcers, like Thurman, also contributed to a rise in the number of tickets.

But he added that the university budget could make it without the money made from tickets.

“We rely on the profits from parking permits,” he said. “We would like for the students to put us out of business, as far as illegal parking goes.”

Reach Anthony Hellmueller at [email protected]