The objective of the change is to issue fewer citations and reduce disputes while maintaining parking availability and order.
Mayor Purzycki said that his administration has been continually working with Council Member Maria Cabrera, and lately has consulted Council Members James Spadola and Zanthia Oliver. Some of the changes will require legislative approval while others will be enacted through policy changes. The main goal of the reforms, according to Mayor Purzycki, is to foster a more customer-friendly parking enforcement system while ensuring that parking procedures are efficient in all City neighborhoods. The Mayor explained: “We will, of course, collect less revenue, and we’ll have to deal with that problem, but in the long run, I feel it’s better to have a system in place that makes Wilmington a more welcoming City and reduces resident and business owner frustration while promoting more efficient government operations. The greater the number of citations issued, the more opportunity there is for problems to arise for the public and the government, and it’s time to change that.”
The reforms and reasoning for those reforms include:
- Parking violations that now carry of fine of $40 will be reduced to $25, which the Mayor said is a more appropriate fine. The Mayor hopes the reduced cost will incentivize people to pay their fines rather than accumulate additional debt.
- Reduce the frequency of street cleaning, which now occurs weekly, and redistribute street cleaning to neighborhoods most in need. With reduced frequency of cleaning, residents will not need to move their vehicles as often, which will reduce their chances of being ticketed. Based on the City’s survey of streets that are cleaned weekly, cleaning them less frequently- for example once per month- will not result in dirtier streets.
- Reduce the number of Residential Parking Permit (RPP) zones throughout the City by eliminating some and reducing the size of others. This is intended to reduce the number of citations being issued.
- Simplify the free RPP registration and re-registration process by issuing permits that are valid for two years rather than just one and dividing the city into East and West zones. East side residents will be issued permits in January and west side residents will be issued permits in June.
- The City will notify customers more quickly about RPP expirations and renewals. Currently, reminder notices are mailed to customers 30 days before expiration. The City will be adding email notifications and text messaging for residents who provide their email addresses and opt to receive texts.
- The City will resume its previous system of issuing a RPP car bumper sticker. The Mayor said the displayed sticker process is more easily manageable for parking officers who currently track vehicles through license plates.
- Revamping the Ticket Appeals Process by requiring that all appeals be submitted online with US mail allowances for those without internet access. Appeal decisions will be communicated electronically as often as possible when emails are provided to the City.
- Reforms to the Towing process include increasing the time period for a towing company to hold and store vehicles to two months instead of one month. Also, allowing towed vehicles to be retrieved 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
- Improved Written Communications to the Public by rewriting all of the City’s parking, ticketing, and appeal emails, letters, and forms.
- Parking Ticket Payment Agreements are being eliminated, excluding owners of vehicles that are booted or towed. Currently, three-quarters of payment arrangements for outstanding parking tickets default with accumulated fines unpaid. The City hopes that tickets will be paid faster and that enforcement measures will not be needed as often due to the new $25 fine.
- Friendlier Downtown Parking Signage, including changing parking limit signage Downtown and in other commercial/entertainment regions to 5 p.m. from 6 p.m. This is intended to encourage worry-free parking in areas with popular venues.
Mayor Purzycki said he also wants to begin installing kiosks in each block to issue parking permits for the entire block instead of individual parking meters. This would be more consumer friendly, although it would require purchasing and installation. The Mayor hopes to have these changes implemented as soon as possible.