With almost $3 million in unpaid parking tickets accumulating, decade after decade, in the offices of the Athens Downtown Development Authority, the organization has decided it's time for people to pay up.
If you have fines of more than $50, you can expect to hear from the ADDA. And if you park downtown before you've settled your debts, you can expect to find a boot on your vehicle when you return to it.
Former UGA Police Chief Chuck Horton is the interim parking director for the ADDA, who saw parking director Laura Miller leave her job in December. Horton told the ADDA board of directors on Tuesday that he carries 30 boots in his car, and he's happy to use them.
"People are not paying their fines," Horton said. He told a story about a UGA female student who paid $200 in tickets in the fall and another $200 in January--and she had a parking permit. She just chose not to use it.
Horton says he's puzzled by the number of downtown businesses with employees who park on the street, sometimes in front of the business where they work. He also said many of the parking meters don't work--a situation that's costing the organization money.