Fairfax County supervisors have added another tool to their arsenal for
cracking down on parking scofflaws by authorizing police and sheriff's
deputies to tow or boot cars with just three unpaid parking tickets.
The cars can now be seized even if they are parked legally on a public
private road. And law enforcement officers do not have to wait for
permission from county tax authorities to enforce the law.
"This empowers street officers," Kevin Greenlief, the county's director
of tax administration, said. "If they're out there writing a ticket, all
they're going to have to do is call in to the station and verify that the
car owes tickets, and they can tow or boot it."
The new enforcement action, taken Monday and effective immediately, is
effort to help the county reduce a massive backlog of uncollected tickets
for expired parking meters, invalid decals, failing to obey signs and other
Until now, sheriff's deputies have needed to wait for the Taxation
Department to issue an order to boot a car or truck for unpaid tickets,
process that could start only once a motorist had accumulated six
violations. Boot requests were erratic, and cars with outstanding tickets
were not towed, officials said.
"If we're not strict about enforcement, it breeds contempt for the law,"
said Supervisor Gerald E. Connolly (D-Providence), who received complaints
from constituents that the county was not enforcing parking restrictions
The backlog of unpaid tickets and resulting lost revenue has alarmed
supervisors, as they have watched revenue from sales and business taxes
plummet in the past year.
In recent months, the county government has chipped away at a backlog
that stood in February at 63,550 tickets worth close to $2.9 million. The
county has contracted with a private company to collect on delinquent
tickets, more cars have been booted, liens have been issued against wages
and bank accounts, and the state has deducted scofflaws' parking debts from
The new law will allow sheriff's deputies to check for unpaid tickets
from the Taxation Department's files while they run a background check on
the vehicle for other traffic violations. Tyler Corey, a spokesman for the
Fairfax County sheriff's office, said he expects the department to begin
towing cars in addition to booting them.
Sheriffs have issued 1,100 boot orders already this year, up from 600
last year, officials said. Close to $2.8 million in outstanding revenue
poured in so far in the fiscal year that ends June 30, Greenlief said, up
from $2.3 million in the last fiscal year and $1.6 million in the year
Uncollected revenue must be wiped from the books after three years. The
county forfeited more than $500,000 last year on 11,500 expired tickets
had been on the books since 1998, Greenlief said.