Over 3,000 tickets issued during second year of downtown parking enforcement

WELLINGTON COUTNY – A parking enforcement pilot project in Centre Wellington is generating an influx of tickets and revenue.

Last year marked the second year the project has run with Alpha Technology Systems Inc., contracted by the township to enforce its three-hour parking limit in downtown Fergus and Elora.

The project has generated a “huge increase in volume in parking fines,” county treasurer Ken DeHart told the county’s Police Services Board (PSB) in January.

There were 3,170 tickets with a combined value of $191,155 issued under the pilot in 2022 alone, according to data provided to the Advertiser by county purchasing and risk analyst Kelly-Ann Wingate.

That’s up from 2021, when there were 2,019 tickets issued under the pilot, totalling $83,640.

Last year’s gross revenue from the tickets goes to Centre Wellington with the county “recovering” the cost of administering the program, including: software licensing, ticket issuance fees, postage, printing, envelopes, and staff time.

It’s unknown how much the county will collect from last year’s tickets because revenue doesn’t truly materialize until a ticket is paid.

Based on the amount of money recovered up to August 2022, DeHart suggested the county could recover a rough estimate of around $38,000 from the total $191,155.

“The volume of tickets well exceeded the volume of work we had originally anticipated and became quite a burden on [Wingate’s] time,” DeHart told the board.

If high volumes remain, and the county continues processing tickets, the county may look at hiring a dedicated position for the task.

DeHart told the board Centre Wellington will continue the pilot for its third year along with a study to determine the township’s long-term solution. 

“Once we know what that is, then we can talk about how that service looks like going forward, whether Centre Wellington delivers it directly, or the county continues to deliver it,” DeHart said.

Responding to follow up emails from the Advertiser, DeHart said around a quarter of Wingate’s time was budgeted to handle tickets last year, however in reality she spent closer to half her time processing tickets.

The cost of hiring a dedicated staffer to process tickets is only speculation, DeHart wrote.

“We wouldn’t consider adding a position until and if Centre Wellington declares this a permanent service and whether the county would continue to administer the parking program,” DeHart wrote, adding a position would likely be a clerk-level role.

Centre Wellington spokesperson Kendra Martin responded to a request for a phone interview with an emailed statement, writing that the township hadn’t yet received ticket revenue from the county. 

Martin did not speak to this year’s study of the program or its future.