Establishing Ticket by Mail in your municipality has a lot of advantages. On top of increasing compliance and boosting the efficiency of enforcement, it can also improve the convenience of payments and even help keep other municipal services running smoothly. But just because it has myriad benefits doesn’t mean getting it all in place is quick and easy.
To move your initiative forward, you’ll not only need a few things in order but also the right laws on your side, which often means getting buy-in at the state level, and that alone can be a tricky task.
So to help get you there, we’ve put together this blog post so you can better understand what obstacles stand in your way and how to best get around them.
State and local laws
Before you can implement anything at the municipal level, you first need to understand whether or not your Ticket by Mail initiative satisfies pre-existing state laws.
The most important question you need to explore is whether or not there are legal requirements for providing service on a ticket. Some states may have no prior language or laws that govern how your municipality handles that process, while many others may be strict or specific in how that issuance needs to occur—such as having to physically issue a ticket and leave it on the vehicle.
In the case of the former, you may face little pushback from the state level and be able to move your efforts forward with minimal resistance. However, those who are subject to specific state laws may have to go as far as getting those laws amended or outright abolished.
If you’re one of the latter, you’ll first need to know whether your state operates on Home Rule or Dillon’s Rule, both of which determine how much legal autonomy your municipality has in terms of governance.
Home Rule is generally far more forgiving, and often allows individual municipalities to establish laws how they see fit, while Dillon’s Rule often requires state approval for certain changes or initiatives. Many states operate with different rules at different levels, so it’s best to identify exactly which rule applies to your municipality type—then make plans to address your state representatives should any laws need to be changed.
In addition to having all the right laws in place, you’ll also need to make sure you have efficient access to DMV data—primarily mailing addresses—so you can quickly and easily mail out physical tickets to the proper recipients.
If your parking enforcement agency is part of the police force, you should already have access to this data through the department. However, a vast majority of parking authorities are separate entities and need to secure that data through other means.
It’s best to start by looking into what the legal requirements are for accessing that data, then getting in touch with the right people at the state level to get approval. Much like regulations for providing service on ticket issuance, accessing DMV data may also take getting state laws changed or amended.
Positioning Your Ticket by Mail Initiative
While many municipalities may be lucky enough to face only minor pushback in their efforts to establish a Ticket by Mail system, plenty of others will have to jump through a lot of hoops to get it to the finish line—especially if that means changing state laws.
To ensure you have enough leverage when addressing state representatives, you’ll want to put together a list of questions you’ll likely be asked and have compelling answers at the ready to maximize your chances of getting buy-in.
On top of gathering up case studies of other cities that have successfully implemented a Ticket by Mail system, it’s important to examine how your initiative will affect everyone involved, from constituents to parking enforcement personnel to state legislators. Try to consider it from their perspective so you can properly address any concerns they might have.
Some examples of important questions to ask are:
•How will this change make payments and appeals easier for constituents?
•How will Ticket By Mail make parking enforcement jobs easier?
•How will these changes affect representatives at the state level?
There are plenty of ways to generate leverage for what you’re putting forth, so make sure you spend the time addressing these questions before you attempt to move anything forward or you’ll end up back at the drawing board before the picture is complete.
While we’ve covered many of the obstacles you’ll likely encounter, there’s a lot more to the process of getting your Ticket by Mail system approved. However, with a good forethought, preparation, and the right resources, you’ll be able to push your initiative through and set a new standard for your municipality’s parking enforcement.
For a more in-depth look at how the technology you’re proposing creates a wider set of benefits, what laws you need to consider, and how to approach state representatives and create leverage, feel free to click the button below to check out our white paper.