New parking fine system is in works

Getting a parking ticket in Bismarck will carry an extra $3 punch from now on.

In accordance with revamping the parking ticket system, the Bismarck City Commission OK'd the price increase from $7 to $10 Tuesday night. Previously, they approved spending more than $33,000 to buy a computer system that will make entering the tickets into the record easier.
Lt. Fred Wooten, traffic commander for Bismarck police, said instead of writing out tickets, information will be entered into a handheld computer, producing a cleaner, easier-to-read ticket. He said the big benefit is that once the ticket is issued, the information is stored in the computer until downloaded at the police station and sent to municipal court.

Police department employees currently spend about 60 to 90 minutes entering data. Wooten said with the new system's arrival, clerks will have to enter information into computers only once and the database also will be easier to search.

"The big saving is that it will cut down on time for clerks and the reduction of errors," he said.

In addition to taking out guesswork Wooten says occurs when people can't read their tickets, the system will enable car markers to record the location of tire stems and record them when they suspect someone is erasing chalk marks on vehicles. Even so, he doesn't expect the number of tickets issued to increase.

"Car markers can write out a ticket in 30 seconds. Until they get used to the devices it will take longer to get them into the computer system," he said.

Bill Wocken, city administrator for Bismarck, says the system will help manage downtown parking. The suggestion to increase the fine came from downtown merchants, who say there are many repeat offenders. It's possible the city commission may hear a request to further increase the fine for repeat violations.

"We wanted to address some of their concerns and felt we would be taking care of this aspect," he said.

(Reach reporter Angie Buckley at 250-8255 or
Bismarck Tribune
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