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Noozhawk Asks: Information + Inspiration for Santa Barbara County

Noozhawk Asks: How Much Money is Collected from Street Sweeping Parking Citations in Santa Barbara?

A reader wants to know how much the city gets from the thousands of parking citations issued each year

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Question: How much money is collected with street sweeping parking citations and exactly how is the money used? Who determines the spending?

— Chrystal Carlson

Street sweeping parking violations generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the city of Santa Barbara, and the money is put back into the budget for cleaning commercial and residential routes.

According to the city's latest two-year financial plan, street sweeping parking violations generated $664,538 for the 2016 fiscal year. The projected revenue from citations in the 2017-18 year is $660,000.

The regular price of a street sweeping parking fine is $48.

On average, the city sweeps around 18,000 curb miles, on both residential and commercial routes, each year.

Specialized trucks sweep up trash, leaves and other debris that are stuck in the gutters along the street, while parking enforcement officers write citations for vehicles left parked along the curb during sweeping hours. 

The Parking Enforcement Unit issued more than 55,000 citations in 2016 and about 29,000 of them were for street sweeping, according to the latest city budget documents.

That would generate about $1.3 million, assuming a ticket price of $48, but the street sweeping program recorded $664,538 as its portion of the revenues last year. 

The citation revenues are put back into the street sweeping program, which costs almost $1 million a year to operate.

In 2016, the city spent a combined total of $911,824 from the city budget to pay for street sweeping and the program is budgeted at a cost of $976,073 for the current year. 

The program’s revenue comes out of both citation money and funds that are transferred in from other parts of the city government, such as the city's Creeks Division.

Street sweeping isn’t a money-making tool but an expense, said Michele DeCant, Business Manager for the City of Santa Barbara Public Works department.

“We do not make enough money just on parking violations to pay the cost of this residential program,” DeCant said.

The nearly $1 million spent each year includes paying for the supplies, equipment and employee salaries involved in street sweeping. 

A large chunk of the parking citation revenues is transferred to the Santa Barbara Police Department to support the parking enforcement officers who work in the street sweeping program, according to the city's budget. 

Budgetary decisions like this one are decided by department heads, in this case the Public Works Department, and ultimately the City Council, which must approve a budget every year. 

Noozhawk intern Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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