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Wednesday June 13, 2001

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Parking and Transportation owed $1M in citation fees

By Katie Clark

Arizona Summer Wildcat

Director hopes education about campus lots will alleviate parking issues

The number of citations issued by UA Parking and Transportation in the summer "goes down drastically," in the summer, said director Patrick Kass.

"There are a lot less people," he said.

On the other end of the spectrum, Kass also said the department is owed roughly $1 million in unpaid citation fees since 1997.

"We don't know who everyone is," Kass said, which makes it difficult to collect citation fees from people not affiliated with the university.

Kass said the department sends out collection notices to those with past due citations, but sometimes to no avail.

The department sometimes has to take more drastic measures, he said.

"If you have three or more citations, your vehicle is subject to impoundment," Kass said.

The department can also transfer the fines to students' bursar's accounts and, if not paid in full by the end of their time at the university, can result in complications for students.

"We process over to their bursar's accounts monthly," Kass said. "If they don't pay, they won't be able to graduate or register for classes."

Kass said the department issues about 50,000 citations every year.

"Technically, we could impound a vehicle on the first citation," Kass said. "But we can't impound 50,000 cars."

The department also works with Arizona Debt Set Off, an organization that works with the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles that can prevent people with UA citations from registering their cars in Arizona.

Kass said the department makes about $900,000 in citation fees and vehicle impoundments per fiscal year.

"That number comes from citations that we collect from previous years, too," he said.

There are about 10,000 permit spaces on campus, with about 14,500 permit holders during the academic school year, but Kass said the citations are given mostly to people who do not have permits or do not park in their designated areas.

Kass said the department is trying to find ways to let people know about other Zone One lots that students and staff might not know exist because they are further away from campus by the time Fall semester starts.

"We have Zone One lots open every day (during the academic year)," he said. "They're just not as close as everyone wants."

The department has also looked into possibly having permits just for students so they are not paying for parking for an entire year if they will not be on campus for the summer.

"We want to keep it as equitable as possible," Kass said. "We have to look at how often it is used. There is no distinction from who gets permits."

Kim Whitley, an engineering physics sophomore, said she could only get a Zone One permit for this summer even though she signed up to get one for the Fall.

"They ran out before I could get one," she said, adding that she has to ride her bike or walk to school during the academic year.