LB city manager evaluating possible wheel clamping program

City Auditor Laura Doud unveiled a wheel clamping program and cost-benefit analysis on August 11 that estimates Long Beach would receive approximately $1.1 million to $2.5 million in annual new net revenues. “The City Auditor’s Office is doing everything we can to collect all revenue due to the City,” said City Auditor Doud. Three City Councilmembers, Suja Lowenthal, Gary DeLong, and Rae Gabelich, co-sponsored the recommendation to request that management report back on the initiation of the program.
Wheel clamping is widely used in other cities to collect on delinquent parking tickets by immobilizing a vehicle’s wheels. The owner cannot remove the clamp or operate the vehicle until all unpaid fines are paid. Only those violators with five or more tickets outstanding would be subject to wheel clamping.
The Wheel Clamping Program is Initiative # 11 of the Long Beach City Auditor’s Police Efficiency Study, which was released in June 2007. The City Auditor’s Office performed a cost-benefit analysis that expands on the original police study and it was presented to the City Council on August 19.
The analysis focuses on the fact that the City currently has $11.7 million in uncollected parking tickets from approximately 18,900 vehicles that have at least five or more unpaid tickets. Further, the analysis projects the implementation cost and revenue projections based on 10 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent recovery rates. The recommended program would target only those violators with five or more unpaid parking tickets in the last five years.
“With these recovery rates, the City will generate between $1.1 million and $2.5 million annually,” noted City Auditor Laura Doud. “This would offset between 7 percent and 15 percent of our current budget deficit by just collecting on unpaid parking tickets from those who have so far refused to pay them. The money collected in this program could protect vital services for our community.”
After the proposal was presented to the City Council, James Johnson, assistant city auditor, said, “The City Council approved our recommendation to request that the city manager study wheel clamping for possible implementation. Upon conclusion of his review, the city manager will report back to the City Council with his findings, and the Council will decide how to proceed next.”

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