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Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019

* While residential property taxes are relatively low in Chicago, the city nickels and dimes you to death with fees and fines, partly designed to keep those property taxes relatively low

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday made no apologies for her methodical approach to an intractable problem: Chicago’s “addiction” to balancing its budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Lightfoot campaigned on a promise to bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing, towing and booting policy that has unfairly targeted minorities and forced thousands into bankruptcy.

She promised to raise the boot threshold, stop booting for non-moving violations and eliminate a hefty chunk of red light cameras at 149 intersections if those cameras were placed there to raise revenue — not increase safety.

She even promised to abolish city stickers that are the source of so many compliance tickets and replace them with higher fees on ride-hailing vehicles.

Compared to those lofty promises, the solutions Lightfoot is delivering seem somewhat timid. She’s ending driver’s license suspensions for non-moving violations, reducing exorbitant city sticker penalties, creating a six-month, universal payment plan and empowering booted scofflaws to request a 24-hour extension to pay their fines in full or get on a payment plan.

* From her new plan

* Ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for non-moving violations.
* Reinstating the 15-day grace period to renew a city vehicle sticker before issuing a ticket.
* No longer doubling the $200 fine for not renewing a city vehicle sticker; the city currently doubles fines after 83 days.
* Halting the practice of issuing multiple tickets on the same day or consecutive days for vehicle sticker violations.
* Creating a six-month ticket payment plan open to every driver with unpaid fines, and granting more time to motorists facing financial hardship.
* Allowing drivers whose cars have been booted for unpaid fines a 24-hour extension to either pay their fines in full or enter into a payment plan before their car is towed to the pound.

* The Question: What’s the most annoying local fine or fee you’ve had to pay? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - Darth_Stout - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    Does the skyrocketing People’s Gas main replacement count?


  2. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    Never heard of a city sticker for the car until I moved to Chicago. I have to pay to park on the street in front of my apartment? Crazy


  3. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    The “convenience fee” the local parking app tacks onto its minimum parking charge — especially when I’m running into a shop for 5 or 10 minutes.


  4. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Anyone who has watched A&E’s “Parking Wars” can attest that any policy that doesn’t force violators to take time off work to pay fines and/or recover their vehicles is a step in the right direction.


  5. - Jerry - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    Getting my car out of hock was always the worst. Cash only. Shady operations. And lower wacker feels like the hellmouth.


  6. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    Dog license fee.

    I realize that the dog license fee is nominal, even in Chicago it is only $5.

    But I think owning a dog is a fundamental right, to be regulated sure, but taxed? No.

    And because there is no fee or even licensure requirement for cats, it seems discriminatory.


  7. - What's in a name? - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    Speed and red light cameras


  8. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    My wife was once ticketed for a red light violation… that supposedly occurred on a day she was out of town for business. Not sure how the wires got crossed there, but that was a pain to resolve.


  9. - Homer Simpson's Brain - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:10 pm:

    Paying $5 for a Ventra card when the old magnetic cards were free. It’s even worse when you buy the single ride tickets for 75 cents above face value.


  10. - Wish my nickname could still be “anonymous” - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    I was once given a parking ticket, in my exurban/rural town of 5000, for parking facing the wrong way on the street. It was a rarely-traveled 5-block-long side street and my truck was parked beside the very last house on the street (my parents’ home)


  11. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    The red light camera, when you barely miss the yellow light and see the sickening flash of light, knowing a ticket is coming.


  12. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    Extra charge for yard waste pick-up. You have to buy stickers at $2.50 each, placed bags or containers. Pick-up times are not regular and may take weeks in some neighborhoods. Unfortunately, some of these bags may find their way into my regular garbage container as a result.


  13. - revvedup - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    Decades ago a City of Chicago parking ticket when I was never parked where they issued the ticket. Calling to inquire was a joke, since nobody could (or would) give me any information, and the ticket was barely readable. I paid instead of wasting time and expense going downtown.


  14. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:22 pm:

    Cook County tax of $1 to enter an OTB


  15. - A guy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    The speed cameras in Chicago are ridiculous. Actually worse than the stupid Red light cameras. Street Cleaner “no parking” ticket is a treat too. Especially when you see the ticket and the street isn’t any cleaner.


  16. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    I remember once seeing the red light cameras flash off at least a dozen times for a funeral process I was in. I don’t know if anyone got a ticket though, so maybe that does not count.


  17. - Aldemuvs - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:38 pm:

    “safety zone” violation on Cicero Avenue. Park is 1 block in and expressway on East-watch out for kids walking through neighborhood to run across Cicero Avenue to get to Highway??


  18. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    First, kudos to Lightfoot - taxation by fines is largely regressive. Most annoying fine was when I parked in a residential only part of the street - I deserved it (didn’t think to look) but I was only there for 20 minutes (grrr).


  19. - Occam - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:55 pm:

    Did anyone do the analysis to determine how much annual revenue the city will lose after implementing these changes?


  20. - Chicago Sports Fan - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 4:56 pm:

    Great job, Mayor Lightfoot! This is policy done right.


  21. - Chicago lakeside - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 5:06 pm:

    Kudos to Lightfoot for getting the Clerk and aldermen to follow her lead. This is a great effort that will benefit many.


  22. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 5:58 pm:

    Turning right on red at a camera intersection…and (apparently) not waiting long enough before doing so.


  23. - SIUEALUM - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 6:07 pm:

    ‘Safety Zone’ at Pulaski and Peterson.


  24. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 6:15 pm:

    The extra fee the State tacks on when making an online payment.


  25. - Winderweezle - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 6:39 pm:

    We bypassed our local airport for the lure of cheaper fares out of O’Hare. Came back to two tickets for equipment violations on our mini van. Come to find out there were 50 mph winds while we were gone and there were three more tickets that had been issued that apparently blew away. Cost us about $300 and basically had no recourse.


  26. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 7:43 pm:

    A few to view the plat of my own home at the Recorder of Deeds Office.


  27. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 7:46 pm:

    I’m surprised there aren’t any NRA members complaining about FOID cars fees. Owning a gun is a Constitutional right, just like voting. We don’t charge a fee to vote; we shouldn’t charge a fee to own a gun.


  28. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 8:37 pm:

    Just. I would have gone there,but its not local.


  29. - The Way I See It - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 8:56 pm:

    An abandoned auto ticket after City snowplows piled 8 feet of snow on top of my car.


  30. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 10:00 pm:

    Parking ticket for leaving a unhitched trailer on the street in front of my house for more than 4 hours.

    To fully disclose, I think the only reason the city police ticketed it was because the neighbor across the street (who is a well known lobbyist) happened to back into it and needed to file an insurance claim … and that was the only violation they could find on the books so the other person wasn’t totally at fault.


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 7:51 am:

    Got a ticket in Oak Park for parking wrong way(front of car out) in a city parking lot.


  32. - PJ - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 8:04 am:

    Coming back from a one week vacation to find my car, legally parked in a permit space on the street outside my apartment, marked as an “abandoned vehicle” and chalked to be booted.

    Honestly, if you live here, add an extra 1k or so to your yearly rent in random fines and fees.


  33. - iThink - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 8:34 am:

    Dupage County Forest Preserve Dog Fee — $50 for the 1st year, $10/yr after.


  34. - lakeside - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 9:11 am:

    A $300 tow charge, that i had to go wander the streets for an ATM because they only take cash.

    Annoying for me, but while I was there I also watched a man break down in tears because they had his car and he needed his title to get it out. But his title was in his glovebox and they wouldn’t let him onto the lot to get the title. Situation seemed unresolvable and it was the most “uncaring city employee” I’ve ever seen anyone act.


  35. - Fairycat - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 9:16 am:

    The app that lets me pay a parking meter by phone tacks on a 25-cent fee each time. I’d rather purchase the app than keep paying this stupid fee every time I use a meter.


  36. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 9:21 am:

    Du-page County Forest Preserve Dog Fee - $50 for the 1st year, $10/yr after.

    Those only apply for off leash dogs


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