Parking fines cause disputes, raise revenues
Through July 25 of this year, nearly five times as many handicapped parking violation tickets were written as in all of 2013 in Manchester. UNION LEADER FILE PHOTO
But that’s exactly what the disabled man, who makes do on Social Security and public assistance, got last June 23 when, he says, he mistakenly placed an expired handicap placard — instead of his current one that expires next year — on his rearview mirror when parking in a handicap space outside Market Basket.
“It was an honest mistake,” he says.
Ordinance Violations Bureau officials don’t see it that way. Supervisor Dale K. Robinson said the parking control officer saw another man park Karagianis’ vehicle in the handicap space. Karagianis, according to Robinson, was not in the vehicle.
Karagianis says he had no choice but to pay the ticket, borrowing $500 from a friend to cover the cost, because if he didn’t, the city would not allow him to register his truck. He plans to file a small claims action against the city in an attempt to get the $500 back.
Robinson said the ordinance that went effect in 2012 was needed to address the problem of people using expired, stolen, altered and other people’s legally issued handicap parking permits to park in the premium spaces.
The adoption of the ordinance two years ago has generated revenue for the city, which just recently hired two more parking control officers, for a complement of six full-time and one part-time.
The fine was set high, Robinson said, because anyone who has to pay $500 is unlikely to illegally park again.
The city of Concord issued 108 handicap violations and 14 handicap access violations from July 31, 2013 through July 31, 2014. Concord’s fine for the “Disabled Permit Required” ordinance is $250, while a $100 fine is assessed for the “Disabled Access” violation of parking on yellow lines adjacent to a handicap parking spot. If all the fines were paid, Concord would receive $23,540 for that time period.
Karagianis got into a disagreement with Robinson over the ticket and filed a complaint with the police department against him. Karagianis says Robinson told him he was a police officer and said he would have him arrested if he didn’t stop calling Denise Boutilier, head of the parking violations bureau. Karagianis maintains he left polite voice messages for Boutilier, but she never returned his calls.
In April 2009, he was ordered to pay about $4,500 in damages after a judge ruled he committed assault and battery on a 71-year-old man challenging a parking ticket.
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