Parking fines in Half Moon Bay have spiked along with the pandemic as officials worked to keep visitors from inundating the coast. Proceeds from the tickets tripled in April, continued to rise through June and are expected to go up even more after the Labor Day Weekend.
Between March and July of this year, more than 1,500 parking citations were paid to the city of Half Moon Bay, infusing the general fund with more than $35,000.
Based on revenue data from January to March, the average total in ticket fines paid hovered between $2,200 and $2,600 per month, before tripling to $7,025 in April. That figure peaked at $16,064 in June, the last month of available data. Going back to the start of the year, the city received a total of $41,218 in paid parking fines.
Relatedly, the number of issued tickets peaked at more than 650 in May.
Though the numbers do not capture every ticket issued, but rather those paid to the city, they do reflect the general trends of violations.
The amount collected from parking fines eluded city officials earlier this month when they attempted to respond to residents clamoring for greater investment in parking solutions. Because of the shared jurisdiction between the city and the county, revenue from parking violations had not been clear. However, city staff are now beginning to examine the city’s investment in parking enforcement as part of a larger review of its partnership with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, which issues the citations.
These findings are expected to help the council determine the efficacy of current Sheriff’s Office staffing and whether the city should seek other solutions for busy weekends, when parking lots are full and traffic spills over into residential areas.
Further complicating the decision to invest in parking solutions was the question of what role law enforcement will play. Following the height of the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, criticism of law enforcement spurred the creation of the Public Safety Subcommittee, which is currently reviewing the city’s partnership with the Sheriff’s Office.
City staff are researching parking enforcement as part of a larger report about the Sheriff’s Office’s costs and services.
Since 2011, the city has been contracting with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Two sheriff’s deputies and a community service officer regularly patrol the city.
At a Public Safety Subcommittee meeting last week, Sheriff’s Capt. Saul Lopez reported hundreds of tickets were issued during three-day Labor Day weekend. That would be on par with what is usually given over an entire month. That suggests that September might see an even bigger increase in revenue from parking fines.
The Sheriff’s Office was scheduled to give an update of its enforcement activities during the Labor Day Weekend at Tuesday’s council meeting, after Review print deadlines.
Requests for information about the county’s share of fines collected were not fulfilled in time for publication.