FENWICK ISLAND – The cancellation of a parking ticket program is expected to help fund the cost of a new police clerk.
Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to cancel a parking ticket program used by the police department to write parking tickets and maintain a computerized listing.
“It’s not very cost effective,” said Mayor Vicki Carmean.
During last week’s town council meeting, Carmean announced that the council agreed in a recent executive session to hire a police clerk for the Fenwick Island Police Department. In addition to writing reports and applying for grant funds, Carmean said a new clerk would allow the police building to remain open when officers were in court or patrolling roads.
“Any time a police officer leaves the building, and we only have that one person there, we have to shut down the police building …,” she explained. “My feeling is if we have a police clerk in the building, then we can leave it open for members of the public to come up and ask questions or get information.”
Carmean said the police clerk would relieve some of the town clerk’s duties and could manage parking tickets. To that end, she proposed ending a contract with the town’s current parking ticket vendor, which is charging the town roughly $8,000 a year for its services.
“I’m sure in some big city this is cost effective,” she said. “But they are taking $8,000, about 30% of what we’re bringing in this year, and this can be done quite easily and effectively by the police clerk.”
Police Chief John Devlin agreed the parking ticket system was not the right for Fenwick Island.
“This is not the kiosk out front,” he clarified. “It’s the machines we’ve been writing tickets with the last couple years. It’s up to date and high tech, but it is geared for a larger community than here.”
Officials noted the town spent more than $500 each month for the parking ticket program. In addition, a fee of $3.50 was tacked on for those who paid parking tickets through the vendor’s system.
“It’s just extra money,” Devlin said. “We were doing fine with the old system, and didn’t really need the new system.”
After further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to cancel the town’s parking ticket program. Savings, they noted, will be used to fund the new police clerk position.