City ordinance enforcement is solely under the authority of the city courts, as prescribed by our city charter, period. The city charter defines who has the authority to enforce parking ordinances.
The first sentence of the City Charter Section 4.1 states, “The city court shall be a court of record and shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all violations of municipal ordinances,…”
To violate the terms of the charter is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Neither Republic Parking or Carta has enforcement authority of the parking ordinance under the provisions of the charter. Just who do they think they are violating the charter to get parking fees?
The citizens have been hoodwinked on what was presented by Carta for parking enforcement, and what actually occurred. The City Council voted to delegate parking enforcement to Carta, who cited they could operate a higher quality parking enforcement program with “ambassadors” to help the public with information, as well. Of course, they ignored the provisions of the city charter that clearly delegated sole authority to the city courts in the enforcement of ordinances.
After Carta was awarded the program by ordinance or memorandum of understanding through the city council, they had the nerve to immediately sub-contract out government authority to a private company, Republic Parking. Afterward, Carta promptly announces that the new helpful Ambassadors will boot citizens cars without approval of the city courts as mandated by the city charter.
Neither Carta or Republic Parking has authority of enforcement of city ordinances, or to boot citizen’s cars.
We have indeed been hoodwinked by Carta with the help of River City Company, who had a grander scheme to get parking enforcement to the hands of Republic Parking, and now is disrespecting the authorities prescribed by the people through vote and their city charter. Their actions defy the charter.
I hope the first car they boot belongs to someone in the legal profession.
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Where is the outrage?
April Eidson raises several good points. I have difficulty understanding why this sleight-of-hand parking enforcement deal hasn't raised a loud outcry by the citizens of Chattanooga. One issue stands out: conflict of interest. Republic Parking stands to gain big time by strictly enforcing the downtown parking regulations. To avoid "the Boot," people who have to park downtown have nowhere else to go, except to pay exorbitant fees to park in a Republic lot. The fact that Republic Parking has a near-monopoly on available parking garages in the city is almost beside the point.
I also don't understand the reason behind the relegation of people who work downtown to second-class citizens. If a worker parks downtown and pays into the meter promptly, I should think he or she has every right to occupy that space. The large shopping malls provide free parking for their customers. That huge parking lot around Hamilton Place is subsidized through the leases paid by the mall's businesses. If the merchants want to encourage folks to shop downtown, let them offer parking passes to their customers. It is not up to the city to provide parking for private businesses. It certainly is not up to the city to allow a business, which makes its money renting parking lots, enforce city parking regulations.
There has always been a healthy difference of views as to the proper role of government, and what services it should provide through the use of our tax money. One service that everyone surely agrees must be the government's responsibility, is that of enforcement of our laws. If the city of Chattanooga's administration is to inept to perform this function, we need to get rid of that administration.