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Which is it? 10 or 30

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Which is it? 10 or 30

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 6, 2008


On the Woodstock Police Department's FAQ webpage is information about paying a parking ticket. For example, if you forget Woodstock's overnight parking ban and commit the grievous sin of parking overnight on a Woodstock street (and be unlucky enough to get a ticket), then you might inspect the City's official website to learn what to do about it.

Or if you visit Woodstock's beautiful historic Square, spend a lot of money on lunch at a Square restaurant, spend some more money shopping, and spend some more money at the Opera House - and then get a ticket for over-parking the two-hour limit! - what happens if you miss the 10-day window for paying for the privilege of parking on the street?

In the FAQs is:

"How do I pay for my parking ticket?

"You can pay a parking ticket in person at the police department 24 hours a day seven days a week, or by mail to the Woodstock Police Department at 656 Lake Avenue Woodstock, Illinois 60098. Parking tickets must be paid within 30 days of the issued date to avoid the fine increasing. Any parking ticket that is not paid after 10 days is processed through the McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office and will be assessed additional court costs. "

OK, so which is it?

Sentence Two tells you that you must pay your ticket within 30 days to avoid an increased fine.

Sentence Three tells you that, if you don't pay in 10 days, then your ticket is sent to the McHenry County Court system.

What is the City's rush to get the $5 or $10? What if you mail in your fine and your payment gets lost?

Sending a $5-10 parking ticket to court after 10 days is a total waste of everyone's time and definitely of the Court's resources! No wonder that court costs are out-of-sight!

After 10 days the City could send a postcard reminder ($0.27), urging the violator to cough up his fine "or else." Then, after 30 days, the City could make a decision whether to utilize the expensive services of the City Attorney (at what hourly rate? $200? $300?) and pursue this "criminal".

It would be interesting to know just how many parking tickets go unpaid in a year. A lot? A few? Any?

© 2008 GUS PHILPOTT



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